Pin pulled on online voting trial — 8 votes to 4

It could be 2022 before Gisborne residents have the chance to vote online in local body elections.

The Future Tairawhiti committee meeting this week voted against Gisborne District Council’s continuation in an online voting trial for the 2019 elections.

District councillor Pat Seymour said the council should not put further resources into the online voting system until it was further developed by other regions and central government.

The trial would cost Gisborne District Council $200,000 out of an estimated total of $4.23 million for the nine councils taking part.

Councillor Brian Wilson said everyone had got a bit carried away with the online voting concept. Research showed it did not bring in a higher percentage of extra voters.

“They’ve done studies. Online voting has been around for many years and it does not increase votes at all. Some studies said 2 percent, some said no increase.”

Mr Wilson said setting up online voting cost money and there was the security issue as well.

He would prefer the council seeing how it went at a local government level first. If it worked well, then they could consider it for this region.

“Let’s not be the first cab off the rank,” he said.

“We don’t want to incur more costs. We’re struggling with the long-term plan project costs anyway.”

Mayor Meng Foon said online voting had benefits even if it did not increase the votes.

“It’s so convenient, like online banking. I would like the council to continue to participate.”

Deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz said she did not feel content stepping back from the online voting project.

But the majority ruled. Eight voted to halt the trial while four wanted it to carry on.

It could be 2022 before Gisborne residents have the chance to vote online in local body elections.

The Future Tairawhiti committee meeting this week voted against Gisborne District Council’s continuation in an online voting trial for the 2019 elections.

District councillor Pat Seymour said the council should not put further resources into the online voting system until it was further developed by other regions and central government.

The trial would cost Gisborne District Council $200,000 out of an estimated total of $4.23 million for the nine councils taking part.

Councillor Brian Wilson said everyone had got a bit carried away with the online voting concept. Research showed it did not bring in a higher percentage of extra voters.

“They’ve done studies. Online voting has been around for many years and it does not increase votes at all. Some studies said 2 percent, some said no increase.”

Mr Wilson said setting up online voting cost money and there was the security issue as well.

He would prefer the council seeing how it went at a local government level first. If it worked well, then they could consider it for this region.

“Let’s not be the first cab off the rank,” he said.

“We don’t want to incur more costs. We’re struggling with the long-term plan project costs anyway.”

Mayor Meng Foon said online voting had benefits even if it did not increase the votes.

“It’s so convenient, like online banking. I would like the council to continue to participate.”

Deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz said she did not feel content stepping back from the online voting project.

But the majority ruled. Eight voted to halt the trial while four wanted it to carry on.

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