Government scared of online voting

The Herald reports:

Today’s Mt Albert by-election could – and should – have been New Zealand’s first online voting trial, claims a veteran Auckland councillor concerned change is being held back by political fears of activating young voters.

Experienced Waitakere councillor and former deputy mayor Penny Hulse says Auckland Council has been ready to trial online voting for some time and been pushing for it happen.

And she told the Weekend Herald that today’s Mt Albert by-election was the latest opportunity to go begging.

Government pulled the plug on online voting for last year’s local body elections over online security fears. There have also been frustrations within council that this month’s Howick by-election still didn’t have the option of online voting either.

I’m very cautious of online voting for parliamentary elections as our current system is extremely secure. But for local government elections, it should definitely be trialled. The current postal voting system is incredibly insecure. And all the concerns over security can be easily handled by merely using the Internet to deliver the vote, instead of count them. Imagine a system where you simply cast your vote over the Internet and its prints out you completed ballot paper in a secure room at the Returning Officer’s office. So you have a full audit trail, and the ballot paper now only has all the details of if it had been posted in, but all the additional info such as date and time completed, IP address etc which makes fraud detection much easier. Also you can notify the voter their e-ballot has been received so if it isn’t them, they know.

Council documents declare Hulse and Mayor Phil Goff “will be pursuing this” while a survey of 1259 people was overwhelmingly in favour of modernisation, with 74 per cent preferring online voting to a traditional postal system.

Hulse said the postal system is antiquated and the democratic process is being hamstrung by what she describes as “resistance” to making the voting system as relevant and accessible as possible.

The resistance appears to be the Government. If you want e-voting for local body elections, then the only way to get it might be to change the Government.

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