NSW Electoral Commission appoints Scytl for iVote refresh project

$1.9 million contract for company that developed core iVote component

Scytl has won a $1.9 million contract to upgrade the NSW Electoral Commission’s iVote application.

The 2017-18 state budget included funding to enhance the iVote system, which provides browser-based Internet voting and telephone voting.

iVote has been used in two NSW elections, as well as the 2017 WA election and nine NSW by-elections.

There have been two versions of iVote; Scytl developed the core voting system used by the application from the 2015 NSW election onward.

iVote has three key components: A registration and credential management system, which were both developed by the NSW EC; the Scytl core voting system; and a telephone system built by the electoral commission for vote verification.

The refresh project will include enhancing iVote’s security, through improving voter verification as well as generally upgrading the application’s security.

Tender documents issued last year by the NSW EC said it was also interested in increasing iVote’s “transparency, auditability and scrutiny”, allowing the system to support more than one election at a time and introducing additional language support.

Last year the electoral commission revealed it was considering a range of changes to the platform ahead of next year’s state election. The NSW EC has said that the system’s infrastructure could eventually be shifted to a cloud service, for example.

iVote has previously been subject to criticism over its security.

In 2015, cyber researchers uncovered a vulnerability in the application that could potentially allow man-in-the-middle attacks to subvert votes.

A 2016 report by state parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters recommended against expanding the use of iVote and called for an inquiry into the system’s security before the 2019 state election.

The NSW EC last year commissioned Roger Wilkins, the former president of the Financial Action Task Force and former secretary of the federal Attorney-General’s Department, to conduct an inquiry into iVote.

Wilkins’ report is expected to be issued next month.

The Wilkins inquiry is being supported by ABC election analyst Antony Green, the government's cyber security advisor Alastair MacGibbon, and Rodney Smith, professor of Australian politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

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Tags e-votingNSW Electoral CommissionNSW GovernmentivoteNew South Wales

More about Attorney-GeneralNSW Electoral CommissionUniversity of Sydney

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