Local Government Minister Chris Tremain has announced that online voting will be trialled in the 2016 local authority elections.
“Online transactions are the way of the future and the Government is committed to rolling out digital services for New Zealanders,” says Mr Tremain.
“I have asked the Department of Internal Affairs to put together a working party from across government and local authorities and with information technology experts. They will consider the options, costs and security issues involved in online voting.
“Voter turnout in local body elections is traditionally low and we need to look at other ways to encourage people to become involved in the democratic process.
“Online voting will be more convenient and appeal to young voters. It will also make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. “
“There is a high level of interest from the sector in online voting with organisations like the Porirua City Council and the Manawatu District Council volunteering to take part in the trial.
“Robust regulations need to be in place so voters have trust and confidence in the system. The working party will be assessing the security and technology used in public elections overseas to mitigate risk.
“Once the working party reports its findings the next step will be to formulate a plan to implement online voting in local body elections.
“The Government RealMe service will be used to enable online voting. New Zealanders who have a RealMe logon can now update their electoral enrolment details online. The Electoral Amendment Bill recently introduced will enable electors with a RealMe verified identity to enrol online.”
Security will be the major concern.
But a RealMe logon is a lot more secure than postal voting and online voting might encourage better participation, especially among younger people.