Online voting to be trialled in 2016 local elections

The humble ballot box could be a thing of the past if online voting catches on. File photo / Chris Skelton
The humble ballot box could be a thing of the past if online voting catches on. File photo / Chris Skelton

Online voting is set to be trialled at the 2016 local elections in a bid to boost turnouts.

Porirua and Manawatu are likely to be the first areas where people can cast votes electronically, Local Government Minister Chris Tremain said today.

The trial would be made possible by the passing of the Electoral Amendment Bill, introduced last week.

That would allow voters to enrol online using the government's RealMe online identity verification service.

The Porirua City and Manawatu District councils have both volunteered to take part in the trial.

Mr Tremain said voter turnout in local body elections was traditionally low and there needed to be 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."

Mr Tremain said robust regulations needed to be in place so voters had trust and confidence in the system.

Internal Affairs would form a working party, made up of information technology experts and representatives of central and local government, to consider the options, costs and security issues involved in online voting.

"The working party will be assessing the security and technology used in public elections overseas to mitigate risk."

An online voting plan would be formed after the working party had reported back.

- APNZ

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