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We need dollars to fix our IT systems: AEC

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Jennifer Rajca

The Australian Electoral Commission says it needs money to update its election IT systems, warning the existing ones are at the end of their useful life.

And it has raised concerns about its temporary staffing model, with the number of staff unchanged since 1984 despite the growing pool of voters.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the July 2 poll, Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers praises the work of his staff in delivering the 2016 double-dissolution election with new Senate voting laws and close to school holidays.

He acknowledges the experience of some voters wasn't seamless due to long queues and a lack of ballot papers.

Mr Rogers says data will be reviewed, with a large jump in votes cast outside of people's "home" division in some areas and not in others.

"It is irrefutable that some polling places experienced longer than usual queues," he also admits.

That will be looked in to, but the commissioner says there is already sound anecdotal evidence it took much longer to fill out the new Senate ballot papers.

He warns extra money given to the commission after a 2011 review has been eroded and the AEC is yet again in a position where it can't invest in new systems, or staffing changes.

"I believe the temporary staffing model and the AEC's election and roll management IT systems are at the end of their useful life," he says.

"As a result, much of the delivery of elections and the data for monitoring and reporting on that delivery, is reliant on human intervention and manual processes."

Mr Rogers says he recently saw how the ACT's system worked during the territory election in October, enabling the monitoring of activity and ballot stock at every polling place in real time.

"While the AEC faces additional issues of scale, geographical dispersion and internet access, having the financial capacity to implement such a system would be a significant contribution in ensuring smooth-running elections."

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