The sooner online voting becomes an option at election time the better.

The Rotorua Lakes Council says it's keen to trial it at next year's local body elections in an effort to get more people involved in the process.

The last time more than 50 per cent of eligible voters actually voted in Rotorua's local body elections was 1998. The past two elections saw a record low 43 per cent turnout.

The Government this week released the requirements for councils wanting to take part in an online voting trial.


Sceptics say online voting won't be the panacea we're looking for when it comes to increasing voting numbers.

Pundit Chris Trotter wrote earlier this year that online voting would likely be seen as a fad by young people, who would soon get bored with it and move on.

He said online voting represented "the ultimate step towards individualising - and hence trivialising and debasing" the collective act of voting in elections.

"The nation's political future would be decided by a slightly less revved-up version of The X Factor," he wrote.

Blogger Cameron Slater, meanwhile, says online voting will increase distrust in the voting process.

It's right to assume people will question the security of any such system. We're often reading about hackers and cyber terrorism - how hard could it be to infiltrate the nation's electoral system?

But we shouldn't let that - and conspiracy theorists who will cry "rigged election" - stop us from moving ahead.

Our low voting numbers are a disgrace. It's reasonable to expect that making it easier to vote will get more people voting - perhaps more so in Rotorua with its relatively young population.


Yes, there's something to be said for leaving voting to those who can be bothered to engage with the system, but that will still hold true with online voting. There will still be plenty of slackers who can't be bothered.

Let's hope Rotorua is one of the councils selected to take part in the trial.