Voting starts on 2005 IT

It's two years until the next election, but the technology side of it is already being addressed.

It’s two years until the next election, but the technology side of it is already being addressed.

The electoral office is looking for a project manager to oversee changes and upgrades to the way results are sent from electorates to headquarters on election night.

Appointing someone to oversee the process worked last time, says office electoral information manager Mike Williamson.

“We engaged a very capable project manager for the 2002 programme, which was a success in facilitating the timely provision of results to the results website and the media.

“For 2005, we’re looking to engage a similar person earlier in the process, to further improve support to field staff and minimise the risks in rolling out a complex ICT environment for a temporary field organisation.”

At the last election, electorate offices had two PCs and for 2005 that will be boosted to three “higher spec” PCs on a LAN at each office.

Whether mobility will be part of the mix is yet to be decided, Williamson says, and as to other changes, “we expect to make incremental improvements through refined processes, ie in the management of phone calls from polling places to electorate headquarters.

“We anticipate better results from that approach rather than from simple speed or capacity increase. However, we don’t expect to publish results much earlier than in 2002, when we exceeded our targets for publication.”

As for electronic voting, Williamson says it’s too early to say whether it will be part of the 2005 election.

“We have a project under way to investigate that option, but there are some important technical and legislative issues, such as authentication, to sort out.”

The project that is underway involves looking at enabling New Zealanders living overseas to vote electronically.

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