Online voting a 'loss for democracy'

  • 17/09/2015

A local government expert is sounding a warning on e-voting as Wellington City Council opts to back a trial on an online voting system.

In a split vote at a meeting yesterday, councillors agreed to join the pilot programme for next year's election.

Senior lecturer at Massey University, Andy Asquith, says it is a loss for democracy.

He says that voter turnout has been dropping because people don't know what they're voting for and why, and that enabling online voting isn't going to help that.

"People still won't know what the council's there for, what it does, who the councillors are, who the candidates are," Mr Asquith says. "It's about connection. It's about voice. It's about councillors being out there, being visible, being active."

He warns that the system may compromise people's privacy, as he is not aware of any system that is completely secure.

Ratepayers are set to fork out an additional $100,000 to cover the cost of participating in the trial.

Councils in Palmerston North, Porirua, Whanganui, Rotorua and Matamata Piako have already put their hand up to join the trial next year.