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Technology-assisted voting (telephone voting) – privacy collection notice

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The process for technology-assisted voting by telephone is designed to ensure electors who are blind or have low vision are able to vote independently, without the assistance of another person who may then know how the elector voted.

Technology-assisted voting by telephone involves the elector giving verbal instructions to election officials, but an elector’s registration to use the service and their personal information is kept strictly separate from the voting process.

Registration process for telephone voting

During registration to use technology assisted voting, electors will be asked to provide their full name, date of birth and enrolled address. The Registration officer will use this information to check the elector is on the electoral roll. Before being issued a randomly generated application number, the elector will also be asked to declare whether they are blind or have low vision to confirm their eligibility to use technology assisted voting. The elector will nominate a PIN to use for voting.

The elector will be asked whether they would like to provide a mobile number or email address so the NSW Electoral Commission can:

  • SMS or email the application number to the elector,
  • contact the elector with information about the election,
  • contact the elector if there are any issues with a particular application,
  • invite the elector to provide feedback about their experience with the system for the purpose of improving our services.

At this point in the process, the elector will be recorded on the authorised roll as having voted using technology assisted voting.

Telephone voting process

The election officials who record the vote do not know the identity of the elector. Voting operators do not have system access to information that may identify electors. The elector provides their unique application number and PIN to the voting operator and is instructed by the operator to not identify themselves using personal details. If an elector identifies themselves during the voting process, they are placed back into the voting call queue for another voting operator to assist.

The teams of operators are managed and supervised separately and their access to information is different and controlled by system credentials to ensure there is no crossover of information (including elector identity information) between the team handling voter applications and the team recording votes cast. Physical controls are also in place to ensure the two teams cannot overhear calls received and handled by the other team.

If after close of voting an elector who registered to use technology-assisted voting by telephone does not vote, the recording made on the authorised roll at time of registration is removed (indicating that the elector did not vote using technology assisted voting).

Verification of telephone voting process

To ensure the voting process is conducted fairly and accurately, a second voting operator monitors every voting call from beginning to end. The first Voting operator marks the ballot paper as per the elector’s verbal instructions, while the second voting operator listens to the call to verify that the elector’s preferences are transcribed onto the ballot paper accurately by the first voting operator as per the elector’s instructions.

Electors have the option of asking the second Voting operator (known as the reviewing officer) to also read out their vote as a means of verification that the first voting operator followed the elector’s instructions correctly.

As is the case with the Voting operator, the reviewing officer does not know or have access to the elector’s application details or personal information at any time.

Retention of telephone voting registration data

The NSW Electoral Commission does not retain an individual's registration to use technology assisted voting by telephone for future election events, i.e., an applicant is required to complete the registration process for each election event.

At time of registration, the platform used by the NSW Electoral Commission to facilitate technology assisted voting will capture the following information:

  • Full name,
  • Elector ID (a unique identifier that is allocated to each elector),
  • Pin number (chosen by the elector),
  • Application number (randomly generated),
  • Email address or mobile number (if provided by the elector).

If an elector has provided an email address or mobile number, the elector’s application number and contact information (email or mobile number) will be entered into an additional platform for the purpose of sending out the necessary communications.

The information captured by both platforms are retained on our servers and only accessible to a very limited number of officers working for the NSW Electoral Commission.

The above information is known as election material and will be kept in secure storage until the conclusion of the election’s preservation period (generally 6 months) in accordance with section 175 of the Electoral Act. The information captured by both platforms at time of registration is destroyed at the conclusion of the preservation period.

Retention of voting methods

Unless an elector fails to vote before close of technology assisted voting, the record made on the authorised roll at time of registration indicating that the elector voted will be retained. This information, like any other method of voting is captured on the authorised roll for the purpose of undertaking our functions with respect to failure to vote, multiple voting, the provision of election information (discussed further below) and as otherwise authorised under our enabling legislation.

Under the Electoral Act the NSW Electoral Commission is required to keep records of the names and the addresses of all electors who voted, whether they voted personally, by post or by another method such as technology assisted voting. This information is known as election information and is required to be made available to registered state political parties and independent members of parliament (in respect of their district) upon request. You can find additional information about election information in the NSW Electoral Commission’s Disclosure of Enrolment, Electoral and Election Information Policy, which is available in our Policy Library.

Further information

For information on how to access and request to correct your personal information please refer the NSW Electoral Commission’s Privacy Management Plan available on our Privacy webpage.  

If you have any privacy related concerns, please email privacy@elections.nsw.gov.au. 

The NSW Electoral Commission’s head office is located at 231 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000. Our additional contact details are available on our webpage, Contact Us.