Coun­cil to look into on­line vot­ing

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

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.

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