17 Jun 2018

Council support for online voting at local body elections

5:05 pm on 17 June 2018

Some councils are supporting the idea of online voting at next year's local body elections.

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Photo: 123rf

It was mooted at the 2016 polls, but uncertainty around the security of the ballot meant it couldn't be done in time.

Selwyn District Council had a 40 percent turnout a couple of years ago and its chief executive David Ward said that was not good enough.

He would like to see that improve to at least 50 percent.

David Ward says his council wants a trial to be run during next year's local elections.

His council supports trialling online voting next year, as long as it gets through the regulatory process and is cost effective.

"Everybody's doing a lot of things using latest technology now so why would voting be excluded from that," David Ward said.

"There's also a number of other organisations who are using technology for online voting as well. Let's not forget that earlier this year we did the census online."

Wellington mayor Justin Lester said online voting was long overdue and supported the trial, but was taking a cautious approach.

"We don't want to spend any rate payers money without the need. So we want to make sure there is good strong signals of approval before we go ahead," Justin Lester said.

"What we are saying is postal voting is not the way of the future - far from it. It's the way of the past and online voting is going to be the way of the future."

Changes to legislation that would enable the technology to be trialled next year, are currently before Parliament.

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