The Porirua Council last night voted to be involved in a pilot for electronic voting for next year’s local government elections.
Mayor Nick Leggett says the Council had previously supported the move and last night confirmed that it was keen to participate in the trial.
Leggett believes electronic voting would make it easier for people to vote.
“The turnout of voters in local government elections is generally poor,” he says. “Porirua is particularly bad at 36% last election.”
He explains, “Since 2012 Porirua City Council has led the call nationally for internet voting as an additional way for people to be able to cast their vote.
“Currently a postal vote is the only way to have your say and we feel that we should widen the opportunity for people to participate in elections,” Leggett says.
“Most residents are more in touch with their phone or their PC than a mailbox these days,” he says. “In fact, over 90% of New Zealanders are now connected online.
“Voting online will be easier for many groups such as the disabled and additionally important as New Zealand Post reduces its services and boxes.”
Leggett was a member of the Department of Internal Affairs Online Voting Working Party that considered the feasibility of online voting.
“As a Council we are putting children and young people at the heart of our decision-making so ensuring they understand the process and engage when they are old enough to vote is also important,” he says.
The Government will make a final decision in December about whether to go ahead with the trial.