On­line re­jec­tion ‘a blow to democ­racy’

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON -

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett says he is ‘‘gut­ted’’ the Govern­ment has de­cided not to go ahead with an on­line vot­ing trial for this year’s lo­cal body elec­tions.

As­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Govern­ment Louise Up­ston said more work needed to hap­pen to ‘‘en­sure a trial meets pub­lic and govern­ment ex­pec­ta­tions’’.

‘‘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,’’ she said.

‘‘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,’’ she said

Leggett de­scribed the de­ci­sion as a blow to lo­cal democ­racy.

‘‘Voter turnout is de­clin­ing and we be­lieve of­fer­ing a mod­ern, ac­ces­si­ble, ef­fi­cient, dig­i­tal op­tion to vot­ers is an im­por­tant and ob­vi­ous step in turn­ing that around,’’ Leggett said. ‘‘That’s why our coun­cil has led the charge on e-vot­ing.’’

He said Porirua was a young city with a high pro­por­tion of vot­ers who re­lated to on­line com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘The ease, ac­cess and con­ve­nience of vot­ing on­line not only ben­e­fits mod­ern life­styles, but can also im­prove par­tic­i­pa­tion for over­seas vot­ers.

‘‘We need to cater to them and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to al­low them to en­gage with democ­racy on their terms.’’

He said the in­ter­net was an in­te­gral part of young peo­ple’s lives.

‘‘If we want them to vote we need to make the process quicker and eas­ier.

‘‘On­line vot­ing pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to make vot­ing sim- pler and more ac­cu­rate by no­ti­fy­ing vot­ers if they have in­cor­rectly com­pleted a vot­ing doc­u­ment. It also helps elec­tors who cur­rently have is­sues vot­ing un­der the postal sys­tem.’’

He called the de­ci­sion short- sighted and said it had been made by peo­ple clearly strug­gling to adapt to the dig­i­tal era.

‘‘In a hand­ful of years, the fact a New Zealand Govern­ment re­jected e-vot­ing in 2016 will have peo­ple scratch­ing their heads. This baf­fling de­ci­sion gives new mean­ing to the term ‘no-brainer’.’’

Leggett said the work and cost put in by Porirua and other coun­cils who put them­selves up to take part in the trial had been a wasted ef­fort.

Louise Up­ston.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.