Government parks up online voting

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Whanganui residents will not get the chance to vote online in the upcoming local body elections.

Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston announced today that the online voting trial proposed for this year's local body elections will not proceed as more work was required to ensure a trial meets public and government expectations.

"Public confidence in local elections is fundamentally important. Given real concerns about security and vote integrity, it is too early for a trial," said Ms Upston.

"Due to timing restrictions preparations for the proposed trial have not yet met the legislative requirements and cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results."

"Security testing has been planned but has not yet occurred. Without seeing the results of testing we cannot be confident the systems are secure enough, and the trial could not be authorised."

Ms Upston acknowledged the work done by councils and service providers on their proposals and she understood their disappointment that the trials wouldn't go ahead this year as originally hoped.


"Voting is a fundamental right of New Zealand citizens and public trust in electoral systems and results is paramount.

Maintaining public confidence and understanding of local electoral processes is more important than trialling online voting this year," she said.

Ms Upston said online voting could be trialled at future elections but there was still much to learn about it.

"Issues with online voting overseas have stressed the importance of getting it right and maintaining public confidence."

"The Government is open to looking at proposals for future trials of online voting in local elections but any plans for trials should be developed as part of a programme of gradual steps towards online voting in local elections."

Eight councils that had expressed interest in trialling online voting at the 2016 local elections were Rotorua, Selwyn, Wellington, Porirua, Masterton, Matamata-Piako, Palmerston North, and Whanganui.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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