Prime Minister John Key has quashed suggestions that the Porirua City Council be allowed to trial electronic voting for the 2013 local body elections. Mayor Nick Leggett wants the Government to approve new regulations enabling electronic voting to take place. Mr Leggett says Porirua has one of the youngest populations in New Zealand and with only 20% of people under the age of 35 voting in local body elections, electronic voting could help lift voter participation. He says so many everyday interactions are done electronically, voting could be as well.
Mr Leggett says while the current law allows alternative forms of voting, regulations that Porirua City Council has helped draft need to be approved by the Department of Internal Affairs.
However, John Key says it is unlikely that systems could be put in place for elections this year. Mr Key says voting is very important and the Government would have to be sure the system would work flawlessly and that there would be no risks or concerns. He says in the longer term, elections will be conducted by electronic voting.