Victorian Electoral Commission looks to thin clients to slash costs

Victorian Electoral Commission looks to thin clients to slash costs

Prime Minister sets date for federal election

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) slashed IT costs by 50 percent by using thin client technology at its Early Voting Centres (EVC).

VEC infrastructure leader, Shripad Joshi, said thin computing from Wyse Technology has been installed because previous solutions used during state elections were too costly and complex.

"With such a short period of time allowed for early voting centres to be set up prior to the election we just could not afford the time or complexity in providing an alternative solution such as personal computers (PCs)," Joshi said.

"We had to basically wheel-in and be online very quickly with no time available for solving PC issues.

"We also saved enormous amounts of money by using our own office staff to simply plug in the thin clients rather than use third party contractors as we have done in the past."

Today, Australian politicians have become much more tech-savvy utilising the Internet as much as possible even praising Google Australia for launching a new election Web page and tools dedicated to keeping the nation informed.

The election page includes a new variation of Google maps called maplets, through which users can view electorate boundaries, see which parties hold each seat and the margin they hold them by, electorate profiles and information about each member, as well as links to videos and news relating to each electorate.

In a video posted on the Liberal Party 07 page, Prime Minister John Howard said "its undeniable that the Internet is a powerful medium for people to communicate and be informed."

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd labelled social networking site YouTube the new tool of democracy.

With the federal election announced yesterday and set for November 24, 2007, there is likely to be plenty of online activity by the major political parties in coming weeks.

But there are always plenty of cyber challenges such as security. VEC's Joshi said thin computing solves the security problem.

With no disk in the Wyse terminal, Joshi said security isn't an issue and VEC could guarantee availability, which wasn't possible with notebooks in the past.

During the 2006 state election, Joshi said VEC combined thin clients with ADSL support from Telstra.

"It is our intention going forward to use thin client terminals in future state and local government elections. We are looking at new technology like streaming and desktop virtualisation and also decentralised architecture that will enable the VEC to gain access from regional and satellite offices," Joshi said.

The VEC has traditionally established centres (EVCs) around the state for voters who cannot attend a voting booth on election day.

In 2006, the election was held on November 25 and there were 36 voting centres spread across the state of Victoria.

They are operational for about four weeks leading up to the election.

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