6 May 2012

Online voting eyed for general election

7:56 pm on 6 May 2012

The commission's report into last year's general election says it plans to assess the feasibility of a secure online voting system as a way of lifting the turnout.

Nearly a third of all eligible voters did not take part in last year's election.

Overall turnout fell 6% from 2008 (from 75.73% to 69.57%), similar to the large drop between the 1999 election and the early mid-winter election in 2002 when turnout fell 5% (from 77.19% to 72.49%).

Numbers of non-voters giving the response "it was obvious who would win, so why bother?", as a factor influencing their decision not to vote, increased from 19% in 2008 to 31% in 2011.

Issues such as delivering for the 2014 election an option of internet voting, or even telephone voting for overseas voters and blind and disabled voters are being monitored by the commission, though it has been told by the Government that financial resources will not allow it to give such matters priority.

"We will continue to monitor the results of overseas electronic voting initiatives and look for other ways to utilise technology to improve electoral processes," the commission says.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the report will be considered by Parliament's Justice and Electoral Select Committee, which is holding an inquiry into the election.