FAQ - Online Voting

Will online voting actually increase voter turnout?

A:

Online voting on its own won’t be sufficient to mobilise those who are under-represented in voting, but it is necessary to modernise elections if we want to increase participation in our democratic processes.  [1]

A Massey University survey shows that young people are more likely to vote if it is made more convenient. The research is based on a survey, which showsonlinevoting is more of an incentive than a $50 payment. The survey, which was conducted by academics and students from the university's politics programme, targeted 18- to 24-year-old students to gauge their attitudes to the general election. Of the respondents who indicated they did not intend to vote, 75% said they would be more likely to vote if onlinevoting was introduced, while only 51% said they would be motivated by a $50 payment. [2]

In NZ, we have seen good examples of increased digital participation with the census, where 35% of forms were completed online in 2013, which is up from 7% in 2006. [3]

Online voting will also make it easier for people with disabilities and other physical barriers for accessibility to vote. [4]

[1] Massey University local government specialist Associate Professor Christine Cheyne

[2] Tech generation wants online voting, Stuff.co.nz, 08/07/2014

[3] www.beehive.govt.nz/release/online-voting-report-welcomed-minister

[4] www.beehive.govt.nz/release/online-voting-be-trialled-2016-elections

Also, check out this awesome TED Talk from Journalist and Presenter Rick Edwards as he gives five solutions to get more young people to vote.

 

What about security and the potential for fraud?

A:

Online voting will be trialled in NZ at the 2016 local body elections, we are asking that if the trial goes well and robust regulations are put in place so voters have trust and confidence in the system that the trial be extended to the nationwide General Election in 2017. The Online Voting Working Party are already assessing the security and technology used in public elections overseas to mitigate risk. Our goal is to show public support and increased demand for more robust political processes.

For the 2016 trial, “The Government RealMe service will be used to enable online voting. New Zealanders who have a RealMe logon can now update their electoral enrolment details online. The Electoral Amendment Bill recently introduced will enable electors with a RealMe verified identity to enrol online.” [4]

[4] www.beehive.govt.nz/release/online-voting-be-trialled-2016-elections

Where else in the world is online voting done and does it work?

A:

Since 2005, the citizens in Estonia have been able to vote on the internet in the general and European election. To vote, a person would first obtain anelectronic ID card. Such cards come in many forms, and even a recent phone’s SIM card is acceptable. Next, a voter obtains two secret codes, the first one to be identified in the voting system, and the second one to sign electrically. [5]

Gujarat became the first Indian state to experiment with e-voting in 2011. Any person whose name appears on the voters’ list can e-vote. He must then register with the State Election Commission, filling out an online form with personal details, mobile phone number and details of the personal computer/laptop that he will use to cast his vote. The voter is then sent a registration identity and temporary password via email and SMS. He must activate his identity within seven days of the alert. To prevent duplication of votes or bogus voting, the Commission sends a new password on polling day. With this, the voter can log on to the site and cast his vote. [6]

Some of those who have adopted internet voting have seen a turnaround in voter turnout. In Huntsville — one of 34 municipalities in Ontario that allowed e-voting last year — voter turnout rose sharply going up from around 30%  to 46% [7]

[5]www.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/blog/internet-voting-if-ever-made-secure-would-it-improve-election-turnout/

[6] www.cbc.ca/news/politics/can-internet-voting-boost-turnout-without-risk-1.993586

[7] www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/e-voting-for-it-land