The Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand has recommended that Australian electoral commissions increase their focus on electronic and internet voting, in preparation for the day when paper balloting becomes extinct.
According to a discussion paper released by ECANZ on internet voting, it seems inevitable that paper voting will "sooner or later" be replaced by some form of electronic voting.
"Prudence clearly dictates that Australian [electoral commissions] should be starting now to increase ... their focus on the challenges and prospects of electronic and internet voting."
ECANZ has also called on the federal and various state electoral bodies to boost their in-house expertise in the area and undertake pilot projects.
The paper, which was prepared by the Australian Electoral Commission for ECANZ, was not in response to the 2013 federal election.
But it comes as new Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week said the incoming Coalition government should consider electronic voting measures, as a response to informal voting rates and voter fraud.
It also comes as Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer called the integrity of the current system into question as votes were counted in the seat of Fairfax.
The discussion paper, which has been released to help inform public discussion on the topic, notes that a shift to universal internet voting would be a "revolutionary development" in Australia and is not currently being advocated by any Australian electoral body.
It suggests that one of the most compelling cases for internet voting in the short term is its role in enfranchising people who cannot otherwise vote, such as those with disabilities.
It also says that internet voting might enable voters to access how-to-vote cards online.
"It could be argued that this would put all candidates on a more equal footing, making them less dependent on being able to mobilise an army of supporters to canvass outside polling places," the paper states.
If electronic voting - either in a localised or remote set up - was to be introduced at the federal level, a change to the Electoral Act would be required.
The AEC has been monitoring electronic voting technologies for more than 10 years and the 2007 federal election included electronic voting trials for vision-impaired voters and for ADF and AFP personnel who were overseas.
At the state and territory-level, electronic voting measures have also been trialled since the early 2000s.
For example, the ACT first used electronic voting in the 2001 Assembly election. In the 2011 NSW state election, disabled, remote and interstate voters were able to vote via telephone and the internet.