Audit slams AEC for 2016 ballot

Auditor-General Grant Hehir has slammed the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) over its handling of the 2016 Federal Election.

The AEC misled the public about the security of its data during the election and failed to ensure it had not been compromised, Mr Hehir’s office said.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) also criticised the AEC over its sourcing and management of contracts for the transportation of ballot papers.

“Insufficient emphasis was given by the AEC to open and effective competition in its procurement processes as a means of demonstrably achieving value for money,” according to Mr Hehir’s report. “Its contract and risk management was also not consistently to an appropriate standard.”

For the first time, the AEC contracted a company to digitally scan and count all Senate votes and preferences.

The ANAO has revealed the AEC did not comply with the Federal Government’s basic cyber-security requirements due to time restraints, and accepted the extra security risk.

Further, the report found the AEC had not been honest about the security risk.

“Insufficient attention was paid to ensuring the AEC could identify whether the system had been compromised,” Mr Hehir said.

“The level of IT security risk accepted by the AEC on behalf of the Australian Government and the extent of the non-compliance with the Australian Government IT security framework, was not transparent.

“The wording used in some of the internal records and published materials would generate confidence in the security of the system whereas the underlying assessments indicated significant risk.”

What do you think? Are you comfortable the results of the 2016 election were not compromised? Would you trust the AEC to handle electronic voting after this report?

Read the Auditor-General’s full report.

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Written by Ben

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