By Brad Newton, vice president, Australia and New Zealand, DocuSign

Last week the AIIA called out the extraordinarily inefficient and expensive method of tallying paper-based votes. While political rivals Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull butt heads on a number of issues, what they do agree on is the need for an electronic solution to the annoyingly lengthy paper-based ballot process.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) employs 75,000 people to manage voting and counting, a complicated and manual process, prone to human error. In the 2013 federal election, 1,375 ballot papers vanished in Western Australia forcing WA back to the polls. Deploying electronic voting would provide the government with a secure, immediate and easy to use alternative to the ever lengthening ballot scroll. DocuSign is already working with electoral commissions around the world to develop technology to enable voters to submit their ballot remotely.

DocuSign’s eSignature technology would enable voters to submit their vote anytime, anywhere, via a smart device.  And the benefits go much further than just a quicker turnaround. The government has revealed that it’s 42 times cheaper for it to conduct a transaction electronically than manually. A common concern with this is the perceived lack of security, but an electronic process would in fact enhance the level of security, because government could add secondary and tertiary levels of authentication. Moreover, DocuSign has bank-grade security that meets and exceeds the most stringent global security standards.

Eliminating paper from businesses is DocuSign’s bread and butter, with major Australian companies like Commonwealth Bank and Telstra successfully implementing the technology. I take nothing away from the professionalism of the Australian Electoral Commission, but it’s the 21st century and government needs to catch up.

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