Younger voters say they want online voting

July 9th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Massey University survey shows that young people are more likely to vote if it is made more convenient.

The research is based on a survey, which shows is more of an incentive than a $50 payment.

The survey, which was conducted by academics and students from the university’s politics programme, targeted 18- to 24-year-old students to gauge their attitudes to the upcoming general election.

Of the respondents who indicated they did not intend to vote, 75 per cent said they would be more likely to vote if online voting was introduced, while only 51 per cent said they would be motivated by a $50 payment.

Postal voting is a dying medium. I’m not sure about online voting for parliamentary elections, but I think it’s a non brainer for local body elections which currently rely on postal voting.

Massey University politics lecturer Dr Damien Rogers said the results reflected the level to which technology shaped the lives of young people.

“Among our 288 responders we have a high level of technological literacy and there’s a sense that they want voting to be made as convenient as everything else in their lives.”

Absolutely. Make it easy to vote.

But politics programme colleague Associate Professor Richard Shaw warned online voting alone was unlikely to be the silver bullet that fixed declining participation levels among young voters.

“Online voting would help – but we should be careful to make sure the solutions match the problems.

Definitely not a silver bullet, but something that will help slow or halt the decline in voting rates.

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50 Responses to “Younger voters say they want online voting”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I practically live my life online now but say NO to online voting in elections. If you can’t be half-arsed enough to go to a polling station you shouldn’t have a vote. I mean seriously? Inconvenient to take an hour one Saturday in three years to exercise your franchise?

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  2. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Yoof vote Green. The less of them that vote the better. :-)

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  3. m@tt (631 comments) says:

    “I’m not sure about online voting for parliamentary elections”
    There is no practical or technical reason why if it is available for one it should not be for the other.

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  4. srylands (414 comments) says:

    I have changed my my views on this. I think it is better if voting is slightly inconvenient. You should need to devote some time to leaving the house to do it. I have no wish to encourage more disengaged people to vote, particularly if they are being helped to logon to a portal on while sitting on their couch, and to vote by visiting “helpers” who will show them how easy it is.

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  5. G152 (385 comments) says:

    It’d work. They wouldn’t have to get out of bed

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  6. Nukuleka (347 comments) says:

    Too lazy to spend 10 minutes going to the local polling booth. Most of us managed that when we were 18 (can’t remember if that was the voting age 40 years ago!!) so I can’t see why young people can’t do that now.

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  7. JMS (341 comments) says:

    Provided elections are free and fair, as is the case in NZ, there is nothing wrong with a low voter turnout.

    I don’t want my taxes spent on campaigns to convince the lazy to vote.

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  8. ROJ (121 comments) says:

    I’m with srylands on this one. Voting needs to require at least some effort, if only because then that will engender some thinking about how to exercise the choice.

    Imagine going online just after a particularly tasty soundbite on TV ?

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  9. Unity (611 comments) says:

    What is it with young people these days? They almost seem too lazy to get out of their own way. Let them make the effort to get off their butts and go out and vote. If they had to do that they may take the time to consider more deeply exactly who they are going to vote for and why. If they could do it from the convenience of their own beds(!) they could make a silly snap decision, especially if they were still half asleep!!??

    Young people need to get a life and become more pro-active. Words fail me.

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  10. kowtow (8,774 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller . Too right. Our democratic rights were too hard won . At the very least there should be some effort made to actually get out and do it, communally. Like the Anglo Saxon freemen of a thousand years ago and like the Swiss cantons of today ( a great example of a long standing, genuine ,effective and true democracy).

    Literally, stand up and be counted,publicly, together and along with the rest of the citizenry.

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  11. alloytoo (573 comments) says:

    I’m with a number of commentators here, voting should require a little effort (and hopefully a little thought).

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  12. Armotur (34 comments) says:

    First point for me is to always cast your vote at every election. I actually don’t care how I do it, just do it! If online is available I will use it it as there is no other reason to go to a polling booth for me.

    I don’t understand why it has to require a little effort. Just make sure you use your democratic right and vote.

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  13. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    I love going to the polling booth. I cast my vote with anger!

    Its always funny to see the national/act voters turning up in nice cars.. the labour voters being driven in a labour van, eating a bucket of kfc..

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  14. NK (1,257 comments) says:

    What Brian Smaller said.

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  15. Tarquin North (358 comments) says:

    Fifty dollars to vote? Sounds very similar to what a certain fat German is up to. I know, our daughter joined! Guess she didn’t want that inherritence after all.

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  16. gravedodger (1,570 comments) says:

    If a voter can’t be arsed to make a physical effort and commitment of time on polling day every three years it is more than likely they could not be arsed to gather sufficient information to formulate their reasoning to make a valid selection.

    Equally if democracy means so little to someone too disorganised , lazy or casual to enroll, then their vote is devalued and more than likely motivated by a single buzword slogan last encountered.

    Democracy is precious and should be treasured, equating it in effort to farting in bed is a travesty.

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  17. jp_1983 (226 comments) says:

    Online voting brought to you with ‘MegaServers’
    Select %National% , ‘Delete’

    No thanks paper all the way.

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  18. ROJ (121 comments) says:

    Not only is going to a polling booth good for democracy by encouraging thought to be put into how to cast the vote, it also has a social benefit bringing people into a common location, and for a common purpose. And that is good for democracy because the voters feel they have some ownership of the country – it’s not “Someone Else’s Problem”

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  19. Redbaiter (9,609 comments) says:

    “something that will help slow or halt the decline in voting rates.”

    Radical politicans from the seventies onward are what has driven the decline in voting numbers. Who would want to vote for a choice between Fidel Castro and Karl Marx?

    Government grew exponentially after the mid 1970’s and has never been wound back.

    The most radical event was the redefinition by the National party of the age old tradition of marriage being between a man and a woman. They were led by a far left Marxist lesbian from the Labour party in this event.

    Politicians in NZ today are mostly Progressive or far left one party staters and they have bestowed upon themselves far more power than was ever intended. Why vote for any of the status quo parties? It only encourages them.

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  20. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    David, I have known you now for the best part of a decade. Throughout this time I have considered you a sensible chap whose politics are roughly in line with my own.
    But, in two areas we are polar opposites. *
    The first is making it easier to vote.
    ALL the instances of voter fraud that we have seen reported, noticed, convicted are from the left. Allowing people to cast votes without turning up at a polling station is just another example of the centre right slowly committing suicide.
    You and I both know there were dozens of instances in the last election that should have been reported and prosecuted in Paula Bennetts electorate alone. That vote nearly went against her because of multiple cases of duplicate voting and dodgy behaviour.
    The migrant community from the sub continent is rife with cheaters both here and in a salient tale for the future look at Tower Hamlets in London.
    Vote at the polling station with photo ID or dont vote. No excuses. Ever.
    The opportunites for and instances of voter fraud are too great to allow the left to cheat their way into power.

    The second area where we are polar oposites;
    *Your weird psycho sexual fetish to see Helen Clark as our president through your mental support of the republican movement in NZ.

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  21. Evadne (88 comments) says:

    No! No! No! to online voting. It’s the single most stupid thing that could be done to devalue democracy, on so many levels.

    Here’s 6 for starters:

    1. asking for voter fraud
    2. cannot prevent or detect coercion of votes – in fact it enables it
    3. destroys community / collective sense of democracy – coming together to have a say
    4. “making it easier” is reducing its value – it is already easy to vote – if we imply voting is not worth 20 minutes of your time to get to a polling station – then what are we saying your voice is worth?
    5. there is no democratic or added value in chasing votes from people who won’t give up 20 minutes of their life to place a vote at a polling station. such a vote is uninformed & thoughtless – and shouldn’t be wanted, let alone chased.
    6. it is pandering and dumbing down. Encouraging young people to vote should involve educating them on democracy, the importance of voice, informed choice, political literacy concern for the nation etc – not equating voting in an election with a facebook like or blog comment vote.

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  22. wikiriwhis business (4,119 comments) says:

    If the Florida decision hasn’t taught us anything we really are as dumb as we look.

    Jeb Bush politics in NZ

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  23. wikiriwhis business (4,119 comments) says:

    What about IP addresses.

    Some one could go to multiple libraries/cyber cafes around the country and cast votes repeatedly.

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  24. wikiriwhis business (4,119 comments) says:

    “Its always funny to see the national/act voters turning up in nice cars.. the labour voters being driven in a labour van, eating a bucket of kfc..”

    I been voting since 1978 and never seen this.

    Dime, Dime, Dime…… methinks your currency is devaluing to a nickel

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  25. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    The most radical event was the redefinition by the National party of the age old tradition of marriage being between a man and a woman. They were led by a far left Marxist lesbian from the Labour party in this event.

    One of the dopiest claims yet.

    – National didn’t redefine anything.
    – The ‘tradition of marriage’ varies and has varied substantially since it was invented.
    – John Key showed leadership on it, which proved to be in step with an evolving public attitude.
    – Being a ‘conscience vote’ it was a democratic decision with a substantial majority.
    – It is in step with similar social advances around the world.

    Politicians in NZ today are mostly Progressive or far left one party staters

    More nonsense.
    – There are four parties involved in our current Government. Multiple parties will most likely make up our next Government.
    – “Far left’ is in the eye of a faux far rightie only.
    – Progress requires a bit of progressiveness. No party standing in this year’s election has policies of no progress.

    There is no sign of any party offering a non-progressive option.

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  26. wikiriwhis business (4,119 comments) says:

    “It’d work. They wouldn’t have to get out of bed”

    That’s why they keep the lappy/smart phone beside the bed.

    Their toilet needs are so inconvenient

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  27. cricko (378 comments) says:

    Oh shit, here we go again.

    “A Massey University survey shows that…….blah, blah..”

    When will people learn that whatever comes after that sick introduction is sure to be unadulterated bullshit.

    As is the case here.

    Fuck these gormless students.
    If they don’t want to vote good on them.
    That’s their problem.
    I sure wont lose any sleep if these cretins opt out .
    The alternative seems to be, “Oh, poor little Johnny student, what can we do that might induce you to vote, you poor sick sod.

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  28. Unity (611 comments) says:

    Pete George, did I understand you correctly when you said they had a conscience vote on the redefinition of marriage?. Did you not know that MP’s conscience votes are solely related to the Leader’s conscience? They don’t get to use their own, because they know they HAVE to do what the Leader tells them if they want promotion and such like. We don’t even have a democracy in this area either.

    Time for binding referenda.

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  29. MH (817 comments) says:

    On line referenda,on line funerals, court cases, schooling, pets,sport, sex,war. Avatar voting with daily policies you and only you agree with.

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  30. MT_Tinman (3,257 comments) says:

    “Among our 288 responders we have a high level of technological literacy and there’s a sense that they want voting to be made as convenient as everything else in their lives.”

    i.e. they are bone idle lazy, far too lazy to get to a polling booth and therefore far too lazy to consider who they are voting for.

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  31. m@tt (631 comments) says:

    You can already enroll entirely online using a realme account. If that is not secure enough then the system is already broken because that’s control of your enrollment and right to vote right there!

    There is absolutely no question that most contributors to this post will still be around when NZ introduces online voting for general elections. If I had to wager on it I’d say we’ll be doing it by 2026 at the very latest. Possibly even by 2023.

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  32. cricko (378 comments) says:

    It’s actually quite incredible.

    Massey university “professor” “Dr.” Damien Rogers said the results reflected how technology shaped the lives
    of young people.”

    “Doctor” Damien Rogers is a fucking idiot.

    (next thing, this idiot will be given a cash grant to investigate his amazing conclusions, and how the Treaty of
    Waitangi has been responsible.)

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  33. Kiwi Dave (95 comments) says:

    Ditto, Brian Smaller, Srylands and Evadne. If there is ever a dispute about an outcome or dodgy voting, a paper trail is easier to check and harder to manipulate.

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  34. KathyS (18 comments) says:

    Norway has just abandoned e-voting trials (see link below) because a) they didn’t increase turnout and b) people had major security concerns about the voting system. People also seemed to be able to vote twice if they were sneaky enough….

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28055678

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  35. cricko (378 comments) says:

    Hey DPF

    Who wants to halt the decline in voting rates ?
    And why ?
    actually, what is wrong if only people who gave a fuck voted.

    You can vote now if you want to.

    If you choose not to vote, fine.

    Get it ?

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  36. Unity (611 comments) says:

    And if you don’t vote, you can’t complain at what happens!!

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  37. DisgruntledOne (20 comments) says:

    Leaving aside the issue of ‘do we want these people voting’, this is completely wrong for increasing voter turnout. You’re not thinking about the incentives.

    An individual’s vote can be said to have influenced the result of the election only if the result would have been different had they voted differently (or not at all). Therefore, the probability of any given individual’s vote affecting the election is ridiculously close to zero. Therefore, any incentive based around affecting the election is insignificant.

    However, there is a much stronger, social, incentive to vote, because everyone understands that for our democracy to function we need to have as many people engaging with the process as possible. Therefore, to increase voter turnout, you make the process of voting as public as possible(but not the actual vote, obviously). You want to make an occasion of it because you want people to wish to be seen to vote. Furthermore, making an occasion of it means people talk, and therefore think, about the issues.

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  38. DisgruntledOne (20 comments) says:

    In reply to the study, people were being asked, not actually experimented on. Therefore they do not experience any attitude shift, but only see the change in convenience.

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  39. DisgruntledOne (20 comments) says:

    Unity – What is the difference, from the individuals point of view, between having a statistically insignificant effect on the result and having no effect on the result? I don’t see that it makes a huge difference to someone’s right to complain.

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  40. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    Dime is onto it. I will often spend well over an hour at a polling station, just watching. The solo mums with 6 kids in tow, the flamboyant with the 4 x 4 and boat on their way out fishing, and those who park the Audis, Mercs, BMWs well away and walk – chardonnay socialists! Acting like they are average when they are down to their last $2M

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  41. Unity (611 comments) says:

    DisgruntledOne, with regard to my feeling that if you haven’t taken the time to place your vote, you certainly don’t have a right to complain, actually means that as you haven’t taken part, no matter what the result, you did nothing towards an eventual outcome to your liking. That could sound a bit ‘Irish’ but I’m sure you know what I’m getting at. The importance is taking part and registering your preference. Not taking part means you don’t really give a toss who gets in.

    It could also mean, of course, that you rate all politicians as zero especially as they don’t seem to listen to the majority. That’s where binding referenda come in and I will be voting for a Party for whom this is their bottom line. So far, only the Conservatives seem to have this but who knows what will arise as we get closer to the election but I won’t hold my breath.

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  42. pejhay (29 comments) says:

    Hmmm, I agree with the foregoing statements, you should have to get off your ass to vote. Then it comes down to each individual political party to push their manifesto. The unfortunate part is that, like now, the majority are happy with the status quo, and might assume, that that status quo may continue without their vote. On the contrary, you are likely to get the mentals (and I use that word abusively) voting for change, actually achieving their goal.

    Everyone who can vote, should vote, and if you don’t, the result is YOUR fault…

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  43. Viking2 (11,568 comments) says:

    Well dinosaurs eventually died out and so will paper voting.

    “You and I both know there were dozens of instances in the last election that should have been reported and prosecuted in Paula Bennetts electorate alone. That vote nearly went against her because of multiple cases of duplicate voting and dodgy behaviour.”

    Yep well probably easier to do with paper and masses of envelopes etc than with online.

    Think about these things.

    We readily accept INTERNET banking and trading. There are systems to prevent fraud so we have few qualms about it.
    Most transact internationally more and more.
    The govt. will be all electronic within a few years.

    And all because some of you quaint old fashioned people feel the need to pump your little ego’s by going to a polling booth.

    While I will do it I’d just as soon do the voting online thanks. five minutes as opposed to an hour of wasted time. And I live handy to a both. What about many others where the whole process is an inconvenience but still would like to excersize their right.?

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  44. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    It’s only because bugger all of them can write! :)

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  45. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    Bad idea, Labour would just get people to drive around parts of the country with kfc and pizza and shit like that, who would go into peoples houses and ‘assist’ with their vote.

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  46. wiseowl (934 comments) says:

    Great to see so many in agreement here.
    What the hell is it with ‘young people’ at the mo.

    They seem to want to dictate how everything operates. Stuff them.They can learn that there is a world that exists beyond a screen and start respecting the fact that not everyone is ‘young’ and not everyone has a bloody computer.
    I especially feel for the older generation who are more likely to vote but have no idea what ‘online’ is.

    And let us not ever lose physical money and be under total control by banks and governments.

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  47. DisgruntledOne (20 comments) says:

    Unity – Ok, fair enough.
    With regard to binding referenda, my concern is that they would create extreme resistance towards change. Even with the current, imperfect system, where overwhelming support for a party does not necessarily imply support for a particular policy, people still use the argument ‘People voted for this policy, therefore it must be right. Democracy has spoken.’

    This of course is not true. Public opinion can change, therefore public opinion is not always right. Imagine if we had binding referenda. As soon as there is a result on a particular debate, the people who supported the winning side would be highly unlikely to change, even if they soon would have without the referendum, because democracy had spoken and it confirmed their opinion. We already see this with obsessive polling – imagine how much worse it would be for an actual referendum. Also, if public opinion did change, you would need another, expensive referendum to turn over the initial decision, which would be used as a strong argument not to do so.

    That said, there are serious problems either way. I really don’t know.

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  48. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    “I especially feel for the older generation who are more likely to vote but have no idea what ‘online’ is.”

    Good on you young fellow me lad!

    I’ll remember you in my will next week! :)

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  49. deadrightkev (526 comments) says:

    Online voting has to happen and to say that your vote should not count as much if you cannot be stuffed walking to the booth is just plain dumb. A vote is a vote.

    Its two ticks we are after – one party vote and one constituency vote. The young are waking up and conservative common sense is becoming a novelty item like a new trend so don’t expect them all to vote for DotCom.

    Of course it would have been smarter to have an electoral system where voters have to think when they do sit at the keyboard but as we are a nation of sheeple we didn’t even bother investigating them.

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  50. Unity (611 comments) says:

    DisgruntledOne, binding referenda has existed in Switzerland for well over 140 years and it is very very successful. The people actually have a voice. They also have the 100 Days concept where people have 100 days to protest if they don’t like legislation the Government proposes.

    Before you let people tell you that with binding referenda it would mean that we would be having referenda left, right and centre, this is not true in Switzerland. Because the politicians know a referendum will be triggered if they pass anything the people don’t like, they actually listen to the people and force unwanted legislation onto them.

    Switzerland is the only true democracy in the world. The following site is interesting –

    http://100daystodemocracy.wordpress.com/

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