Thursday, December 16, 2010

Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies

Steve Tully's refusal to provide copies of the below-the-line preference data files to scrutineers and his failure to publish this information had prevented scrutineers from properly scrutinising the Victorian Legilsative Council election.  

There is no excuse or reason why this information was not made available. Similar complaints and concerns had been made about the Victoria's previous state and municipal elections.  

In 2006 The Victorian Electoral Commission refused to publish copies of the preference data-files. When the commission was asked for copies of the data-files by the Victorian Parliamentary Electoral Matters Commission, Steve Tully said that the data files pertaining to the primary count A for Western Metropolitan had been deleted. overwritten and that there were no backup copies available. The Commission failed to ensure that this data was protected and copies available in spite the fact that this information had been requested prior to the conduct of the count. 

The Chief Electoral Commissioner has demonstrated for a second election in a row that he is incapable of self regulating or ensuring that our electoral process in Victoria is open and transparent. 

Parliament must now act to ensure the integrity of the electronic counting system is maintained and that scrutineers have access to this crucial data in real time. 

There are no technical or procedural reasons why this data cannot be made available and published on line as and when it is recorded.  In the same way that polling place results are published on line as the count progresses. 

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has just published a white paper on which it addresses some of the growing concerns about about fraud in electronic elections.  One of the issues raised is the need to ensure that the election process is open and transparent and that the tallies of electronic counting systems are subject to proper scrutiny and audit by political parties and the need for publication of elections results to be progressively made available during the count.


Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies:
A Basic Conceptual Framework
By Rafael López-Pintor
December 2010

As the topic of electoral fraud has gained prominence in the media and the international discourse, IFES is releasing a series of three white papers introducing a groundbreaking framework for deterring this corrosive practice.
Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies: A Basic Conceptual Framework, the first paper in the series:
  • discusses the importance of focusing on fraud in new democracies;
  • provides a definition for fraud (as opposed to corruption or malpractice);
  • sheds light on the different agents who can perpetrate fraud and why it can be difficult to identify them; and
  • assesses how international democratic standards intersect with the prevention of electoral fraud
A PDF of the White Paper can be accessed here.

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