21 Sep 2015

Dunedin withdraws from online voting trial

8:49 pm on 21 September 2015

Dunedin City Council has withdrawn from an online voting trial.

Councillors made the decision late this afternoon after a three-and-a-half hour debate.

The decision makes Dunedin the fifth and last council to pull out of the internet-based voting trial - being organised for a set of councils - because security risks and the cost.

Eight councils including Wellington, Porirua and Palmerston North have agreed to pursue the trial at next year's local body elections.

At Dunedin Council's meeting today, several computer experts warned the risks of using the internet for voting were too great.

Councillors were concerned about the $165,000 cost of the trial, and the possibility of the voting system being manipulated.

They voted 10 to 4 to pull out of the trial.

Representatives of the blind community had backed online voting, saying it was their only chance of being able to vote for themselves, and were disappointed with the outcome.

Blind Citizens New Zealand representative Carolyn Weston said blind people suffered unfair risks with the paper voting system.

Mrs Weston said she had to trust another person to write on her ballot paper and vote for her, and she had no way of knowing if they had done it correctly.

She said she had voted online and she found it thrilling to do it herself.

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