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Eight councils put forward to be among first

Eight councils put forward to be among first to trial online voting in local authority elections

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has announced that eight councils are 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.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the councils which have volunteered to take part in the trial are:

• Masterton District Council

• Matamata Piako District Council

• Palmerston North City Council

• Porirua City Council

• Rotorua Lakes Council

• Selwyn District Council

• Wellington City Council, and

• Wanganui District Council

“This is an important project and a key initiative which will ultimately change the way many people vote in New Zealand,” said Mr Yule.

“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. Voters in the trial areas 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 approximately 10 per cent of New Zealand’s total population and Mr Yule said the councils which have volunteered to take part have both sufficient diversity and complexity to test the effectiveness of online voting systems.

“In our view the eight councils together meet the Cabinet’s requirement that the trial is of sufficient scale and representativeness to produce evidence of the practicality and value of online voting in local elections across New Zealand. 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.

“All have given an assurance they are able to meet the Government’s regulatory requirements within the proposed time-frame and many have told us they are already well on the way to meeting those requirements.”

The trials will cover a range of election types depending on the council area, including single transferable vote (STV), community board, licensing trust and combined 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.

ENDS

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