16 Feb 2015

Push for online voting trial in Auckland

7:43 pm on 16 February 2015

People with disabilities in Auckland are urging the Government to throw out a previous Cabinet decision and allow online voting for local elections to be trialled in the city.

ballot box

Photo: RNZ

Election Services managing director Dale Ofsoske said he was worried about turnout levels.

He said there was a significant drop in voters in local elections, from 51 percent in 2010, to just under 35 percent in 2013.

As part of the effort to counter that, some local authorities will trial online voting next year.

Auckland Council wants to test the system on voters with disabilities and voters living overseas.

But Mr Ofsoske said Auckland had effectively been excluded because - in a Cabinet paper released in December 2014 - it was told it could not test only part of an electorate but that its whole electorate was too big to test.

Auckland Council Disability Advisory Panel member Clive Lansink said blind people found it difficult to fill out voting papers.

Mr Lansink said a trial needed to happen in Auckland because there were lots of people who were keen to test the system.

He said he was disappointed in the Government and it needed to think again.

Election Services said some councils, including Christchurch, Wellington and Nelson, had now dropped out of next year's trial.

Read the cabinet paper on online voting in local elections (PDF, 1MB)

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