New Zealand

Articles about voting issues in New Zealand.

New Zealand: Online voting ‘no silver bullet’ for low turnout, study finds | Stuff.co.nz

Electronic voting is widely regarded as insecure and might not do much to help improve voter turnout, a new study suggests. The study published by Auckland University of Technology said online voting was “superficially attractive” but international evidence suggested it was not a silver bullet for reversing declining voter turnout. A trial of electronic voting planned for next year’s local council elections was scrapped by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on Wednesday. But it is “never say die” for the trial’s backers who hope to have another crack in 2022 despite strong criticism of the idea from many  technology experts. LGNZ shelved its trial planned for nine council elections on cost grounds, rather than because of security concerns. It said it had found an unnamed vendor that satisfied all of its security and delivery requirements, but could not justify the $4.2 million cost of the trial. … The Auckland University of Technology study twists the knife, however. Read More

New Zealand: Supreme Court says ban on prisoner voting was lawful | NZ Herald

The Supreme Court says a blanket ban on prisoners voting was lawful. The court has today dismissed an appeal brought by jailhouse lawyer Arthur William Taylor asking them to declare a decision to ban all prisoners from voting was invalid. Taylor and the other appellants, represented by lawyer Richard Francois, have battled through the High Court, Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court for a declaration that Parliament was wrong to impose a blanket ban on prisoners voting. But while the High Court agreed the ban was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, it did not declare the ban invalid. That decision has now been backed by New Zealand’s highest court. Taylor argued the ban, brought about in the Amendment Act 2010, was invalid because a supermajority of 75 per cent of all the members of the House of Representatives was required to pass the amendment, which did not happen. Read More

New Zealand: Online voting trial for 2019 local body elections halted because of rising costs | TVNZ

A trial of online voting in next year’s local body will not take place after a working party of nine councils decided to halt the trial because of rising costs. A provider who satisfied the security and delivery requirements had recently been selected but ballooning costs forced the decision to not proceed with the trial in 2019. The working party will continue to work collaboratively with central government and the wider local government sector to deliver online voting for the 2022 local body elections.  Read More

New Zealand: Green Party calls on government to urgently repeal prisoner voting ban | The Spinoff

On the 125th anniversary of women exercising suffrage for the first time in NZ, the support party has called for a change in the law that sees incarcerated people ‘unjustifiably denied the right to vote’. The Green Party has added its voice to a growing call for a change in the law that denies people in prison the chance to vote, using parliamentary question time to urge Justice Minister Andrew Little to revisit an issue he has described as “not a priority”. The party’s move follows a landmark decision in the Supreme Court earlier this month and the launch of a campaign today by JustSpeak. Read More

New Zealand: Prison reform group wants debate on prisoners’ right to vote | RNZ

A prison reform group wants to have a public debate on prisoners’ right to vote, after the Supreme Court ruled it is a right of all New Zealanders. The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner’s right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. The government said the issue was not a priority, but Howard League for Penal Reform spokesperson Christine McCarthy said the court’s decision should put the issue on the agenda. “What is so dangerous about prisoners voting? The only reason people are put in prison is – supposedly – about safety to the community. Read More

New Zealand: Councils warned electronic voting will not be secure | Stuff.co.nz

Plans to allow online voting in next year’s councils elections have run into a wall of opposition from technology experts, who say internet voting can’t be secure. Local Government New Zealand will issue a tender for an online system that would be used in nine council elections, including in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, alongside postal voting. The decision to shop for an online voting system comes amid growing international concern about election interference by foreign powers in the wake of the United States 2016 presidential election and Britain’s Brexit vote. …  James Valentine, chief technology officer of Wellington IT company Fronde, was among dozens of technologists who took to social media to oppose the local government plan, tweeting there were “lots of concerns” including security and ballot secrecy. Read More

New Zealand: Plans for online voting at local govt elections ‘dangerous’ | Radio New Zealand

An Australian IT expert says New Zealand would be crazy to adopt online voting for local government elections and would be opening itself up to widespread electoral fraud. Nine councils including Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga want to use it at next year’s elections, despite there being few examples overseas of where it is being used successfully or safely. Online voting was first used at government elections in Estonia in 2005. Its take up by the rest of the world since then has been limited at best, in large part due to vulnerabilities in its systems that allowed hackers to cast fake votes and rig elections. Australian IT expert Vanessa Teague alerted authorities to faults in the 2015 New South Wales state elections, where a quarter of a million voted online. There were plenty of hackers worldwide happy to take money from a vested interest looking to manipulate an election in their favour, she said. Read More

New Zealand: Legal battle over prisoner voting ban heard at Supreme Court | Radio New Zealand

The career criminal, Arthur Taylor, has taken his legal battle challenging a ban on prisoner voting to this country’s highest court. The High Court and Court of Appeal have already ruled against them, but in December the Supreme Court agreed to give them one last hearing. In 2010, Parliament passed a law preventing all sentenced prisoners from voting, regardless of the length of their sentence. However, earlier electoral legislation allowed prisoners serving a jail term of less than three years to vote. Read More

New Zealand: Supreme Court told ban on prisoner voting infringes on rights | NZ Herald

The Solicitor-General has told the Supreme Court justices they risk undermining New Zealand’s democracy, if they rule on whether prisoners should be able to vote. Notorious “jailhouse lawyer” Arthur William Taylor has fought through the High Court, Court of Appeal, and now the Supreme Court, against the 2010 law which banned all prisoners from voting in elections. Previously prisoners could vote if they were serving a term of less than three years. The High Court did not overturn the ban, but did declare it was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act because it infringed on the rights of New Zealand citizens to vote. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision. Solicitor-General Una Jagose is presenting the Crown’s case to the Supreme Court this morning. She said prisoner voting rights were not an issue that should be decided by the courts. Read More

New Zealand: ‘Kingmaker’ extends election limbo | AFP

New Zealanders’ agonising wait for a general election winner is set to enter a third week, as populist “kingmaker” Winston Peters on Thursday again delayed announcing who he was backing. The South Pacific nation has been in political limbo since the September 23 polls failed to deliver a clear majority for either conservative Prime Minister Bill English or his centre-left rival Jacinda Ardern. They both require Peters’ support to pass the 61 seats needed to form a government, but the 72-year-old has drawn out the negotiations as he seeks maximum advantage for his New Zealand First (NZF) party. Peters initially gave himself until Thursday to announce his decision but reneged on the pledge earlier this week. Read More