Sunday, September 25, 2005

Reading an article in The Herald, I was reminded that for all the convenience and ease technology can provide, sometimes it can still fall short of old fashioned manual methods.

In this years (NZ) election, overseas voters had the option to visit the Chief Electoral Office's website to download voting papers. Once the papers were downloaded and then printed, the voter would simply tick the desired boxes and then fax the sheet through to the electoral office; a seemingly more simple and efficient method than collecting a form or having one sent to your home address, then sending it back via 'snail mail'. But as many people will know, computers seem to like to make these simple things more difficult.

Upon printing out these downloaded forms, some voters discovered party names were blacked out on the paper. This means
some parties may have been disadvantaged by not being properly represented on the piece of paper, and by people not noticing the error. Those that did recognise parties were missing and whom contacted the electoral office, were told it may be their computer printer settings, or that their version of Acrobat Reader was not up-to-date.

With over 13, 000 downloaded and faxed special votes to be counted, there is a concern by some parties around the validity of some of the votes. The electoral office (naturally) is playing down the problem.

While this special vote episode may turn out to be insignificant in the election overall, it's still a reminder that modern technology is not always the most effective method. (Right now I can hear old people around the world singing the praises of their trusty envelopes and stamps haha).


Post a Comment

<< Home