Scrutineers — Who Are They? What Do They Do?

Here at CiVS we get asked a little bit about scrutineers. A couple of our clients are interested to know if they are a part of our voting process. Additionally, if they are, what do they do? What role do they play?


Due to the nature of our voting system scrutineers are not necessary. Our straight-forward digitalised system ensures that vote counts are accurate without the need for scrutineers. This helps save on time and manpower during the voting process. Whilst simultaneously minimising the chance of human error or intervention. Though despite the fact they are not part of our process, we still thought we would shed some light on them. Starting with who they are and then moving on to when they are necessary for voting.



What is a scrutineer?

A scrutineer, also known as a ‘poll-watcher’, is a person who observes a process where oversight is required. It’s not just about voting. Scrutineers play an important role across industries such as sports, dance, and engineering. However, they are most commonly considered in an election or voting context (hence the term ‘poll-watcher’). In this context, they are someone who oversees the voting process. This includes observing the polling, ballot sorting, and counting as some primary examples. Depending on the vote being conducted, a scrutineer will take on different responsibilities. They will also be bounded by different rules and regulations. For example, in an Australian election scrutineers cannot contact voters or display any political slogans. This is to ensure that they act as an objective third party and do not unfairly sway the vote. At the end of the day, they are there to ensure that the vote is as accurate as possible. To protect the vote from corruption, miscounts, or anything else which could unfairly sway the outcome.



Why aren’t they a part of the CiVS voting process?

CiVS does not require the use of scrutineers. This is because the elements which scrutineers protect against, such as a miscount of ballot papers, do not apply to CiVS. Due to the digital nature of the CiVS voting system, human error is minimised. When it comes to our voting channels, information is sent straight to the CiVS system. This completely cuts out any potential for intervention. With SMS, online or telephone voting, the voting process is automated and there is no human intervention. Any time in which a vote is cast through another person, it is through a trusted CiVS member. This can include when there is an issue in using the technology, or there was a problem with the vote. CiVS members are bound by The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which retains confidentiality. On top of all this, each voting session is encrypted using SSL technology. This ensures the security of every ballot hosted by CiVS. The CiVS voting environment is also housed in a locally owned and operated secure hosting facility.


By eliminating the need for paper ballots, and automating the process, votes can be trusted without the use of scrutineers. There are no paper counts to overlook. Nor is there any ballot boxes opening and closing which need to be checked. Voting online with CiVS is a secure and trusted system. Rendering the outcome of the vote valid, without the need for intervention.



Looking to host an EA or PAB vote with CiVS?

To host a vote with CiVS call (08) 6314 0580 or email Alternatively, fill out the ‘Request a Proposal’ section on any of our major website pages including the about or home page. If you’d like to learn more about our voting system and how it works, more information can be found on our voting channels page or our voting services page.