On­line vot­ing a pos­si­bil­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil is in the run­ning to be among the first in the coun­try to of­fer on­line vot­ing, should the Gov­ern­ment agree to a trial dur­ing the 2016 lo­cal author­ity elec­tions.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand pres­i­dent Lawrence Yule said eight coun­cils vol­un­teered to take part in the trial, in­clud­ing Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako mayor Jan Barnes said the dis­trict was of­ten lead­ing the way. ‘‘On­line vot­ing is cer­tainly the way of the fu­ture.’’

Yule said the trial was an im­por­tant project and a key ini­tia­tive which will ul­ti­mately change the way many peo­ple vote in New Zealand. ‘‘Peo­ple are un­der­tak­ing more and more of their busi­ness on­line and, in my view, it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore the op­tion of vot­ing on­line is rou­tine. A trial of this kind is ben­e­fi­cial both to lo­cal author­i­ties and to New Zealand as a whole.’’

Mata­mata-Pi­ako vot­ers will still be able to cast votes by post if they wish but will also have the op­tion of vot­ing on­line.

Taken to­gether, the pop­u­la­tion of the trial coun­cils makes up around 10 per cent of New Zealand’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion and Yule said the coun­cils which have vol­un­teered to take part have both suf­fi­cient di­ver­sity and com­plex­ity to test the ef­fec­tive­ness of on­line vot­ing sys­tems.

‘‘The coun­cils will only be able to of­fer on­line vot­ing if they meet the reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments set by Cabi­net and if Cabi­net agrees to a trial go­ing ahead,’’ Yule said.

The tri­als will cover a range of elec­tion types de­pend­ing on the coun­cil area, in­clud­ing sin­gle trans­fer­able vote (STV) and first past the post (FPP) elec­tions.

The trial coun­cils are also di­verse in terms of dif­fer­ent so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus, pop­u­la­tion den­sity and broad­band ac­cess.

Each coun­cil’s prepa­ra­tion for the trial, if ac­cepted by the Gov­ern­ment, will be sub­ject to an au­dit by the Gov­ern­ment’s Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer.

The other coun­cils tak­ing part in the trial are Master­ton Dis­trict Coun­cil, Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil, Porirua City Coun­cil, Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil, Sel­wyn Dis­trict Coun­cil, Welling­ton City Coun­cil and Wan­ganui Dis­trict Coun­cil.

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