Fears of voter fraud and security breaches have led the Christchurch City Council to ditch plans to participate in an online voting trial. The council had provisionally registered its interest in being part of an online voting trial the Government is proposing to run at next year’s local body elections, but councillors on Thursday decided they wanted no part of it. Their decision followed a deputation from a group of IT experts who told them the security risks with online voting were too high and could open the election up to fraud. … Group spokesman Jonathan Hunt, who has more than 25 years experience in the IT field, said online voting brought inherent risks compared with postal voting, such as hacking and phishing, and the risks to democracy were too great to attempt it. Overseas experiences with online voting had generally been disastrous and many of the countries that had trialled it had subsequently abandoned it. “Secure online voting is a tantalising mirage,” said Hunt.
Council electoral officer Darryl Griffin assured councillors issues around security had been upper most in the minds of the working party set up to investigate the merits of moving to online voting. That working party had included a number of IT experts and they had concluded a trial was feasible.
Steve Kilpatrick, managing director of Electionz.com Ltd, the company contracted to run the 2016 elections for the Christchurch City Council and many other New Zealand councils, said they had appointed Deloittes as their security advisors more than a year ago and were well-down the track of meeting the standards required to run a secure online election.