13 Oct 2013

Online local election voting 'no solution'

12:28 pm on 13 October 2013

A Massey Unversity local government analyst says online voting is not the antidote to low voter turnout.

Just 43% of voters have taken part in Saturday's local government elections, down from 49% percent at the last election three years ago but similar to that of the 2007 poll.

Nelson's new mayor Rachel Reese says low turnout reflects a disconnect between council and communit.

"If council doesn't get outside of the, in our case, concrete tower rather than the ivory tower then people don't have an understanding of why local government's important."

The president of Local Government New Zealand, Lawrence Yule, has put the low voter turnout to voting papers being available for too long and says electronic voting is needed.

However Massey University senior lecturer Andy Asquith says people need to be connected with their councils again and online voting may make things worse.

"E-voting would give us a virtual relationship with our councils and it will take people one step further away from having a physical connection with their local bodies."

Defeated candidate says alphabetical order unfair

One of Auckland's unsuccessful mayoral candidates says randomly ordering ballot papers would be a fairer system for local government elections.

John Minto was widely picked to be one of the top three candidates but came fifth.

The two people were just ahead of him are relative unknowns, but with surnames starting with B, they were placed first and second alphabetically on the voting form.

Mr Minto says randomising all election papers would be helpful, as it is unfair to have democracy depend on the spelling of one's surname.