Local Govt e-voting

Katie Chapman at Stuff reports:

Porirua City Council is pushing to be one of the first councils in the country to offer internet voting at this year’s election.

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett addressed the Justice and Electoral select committee, which was hearing submissions on proposed changes to the local electoral act, this morning.

There, he called on the committee to look at including provisions in the amendment bill, allowing internet voting at local body elections.

would offer a better way for young people to get involved, he said.

The postal voting system was irrelevant to many young voters – most of whom paid little or no attention to local politics, he said.

”It’s fairly safe to say that most people these days have a greater relationship with the internet … than they do with their post box.

”Younger voters were always the hardest to convince to vote, so making it as easy as possible was an important part of the process.

”We can’t afford to disenfranchise more than one generation of people.

”While young people would still need to be convinced to take an interest, it would remove at least one barrier, he said.

I agree that postal voting is dying as an electoral method. For local government elections we need to at least trial an e-voting option.

As I understand it the current law is flexible enough to allow some local authorities to offer e-voting later this year. All that is needed is for Cabinet to pass some regulations to govern how it is done. This should be done in the first quarter of this year. It is ridiculousness that 16 years after the Internet became widely available in NZ, we are still dragging our heels on this issue.

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