Council to look into online voting
At its June 27 meeting the Tararua District Council gave the green light to investigate introducing online voting for the 2019 local body elections.
The opportunity has arisen as central government with its Local Electoral Matters Bill will amend the act to allow voters to choose from alternative voting methods.
Tararua electoral officer Sandy Lowe is keen to investigate the possibility of introducing online voting and after a vigorous discussion councillors agreed “to support in principle trialling online voting . . . subject to government regulations being passed in time, all risks including security are appropriately managed, the cost is acceptable and district health boards, regional councils and community boards are agreed”.
Councillor Peter Johns got assurance the normal voting system would continue as well.
Councillor Shirley Hull saw its merits but worried about the elderly coping and connectivity being an issue, saying Tararua does not need to always be first to trial something.
This was echoed by councillor Alison Franklin who commented the trial in the census had “been a disaster for rural New Zealand”.
Councillor Ernie Christison was in favour of the investigation without commitment but questioned the cost. Sandy Lowe said it could cost up to $50,000 but this would be shared by the district health boards, community boards and regional councils.
Mayor Tracey Collis said it would encourage greater involvement in local body elections by younger voters, CEO Blair King saying central government wants greater participation from rural areas in the local body elections.
Parts of Auckland have registered as investigating the option but councillors cautioned about using a city experience when Tararua is rural. There is no commitment from council apart from allowing Sandy Lowe to investigate the option.