Online voting at next year’s local government elections is in jeopardy after the Christchurch City Council today rejected it. The company hired to conduct the online trial said without Christchurch it might not be viable – and it was rushing to try to reassure councillors and others that such voting is secure from hackers. On Monday, Checkpoint reported IT experts held grave fears about online voting, which has already been agreed to by councils in Palmerston North, Porirua, Whanganui, Rotorua and Matamata Piako. Today at a full meeting of the Christchurch City Council, IT experts pleaded with councillors to reject it based on security fears. One of them, Jonathan Hunt, reeled off a list of overseas examples where online voting has failed.
“Australia, i-vote, a significant security issue, France, fake votes demonstrated, Netherlands, they’ve banned internet voting outright, Spain discontinued, UK discontinued, Washington DC, that was a genuine trial without a politically binding outcome, it was hacked within 48 hours.”
The experts questioned the lack of public consultation and noted they had only been made aware of today’s vote after being asked to comment on it by Radio New Zealand on Monday.
Today, councillor Tim Scandrett said while moving voting online next year was being described as a trial, all votes cast as part of it would count towards who was elected.
“I do not want the residents of this city…to have to be the guinea pigs.