Auckland Council’s Governing Body has given its in-principle support for conducting an online voting trial in the 2019 local government elections.
At today’s meeting, the Governing Body approved the council’s submission on the Local Electoral Matters Bill. The submission supports amendments to the Local Electoral Act 2001 to increase democratic participation and enable trials on alternative voting methods, such as online voting, to occur,
With the Bill currently before the Justice Select Committee, the Governing Body gave its in-principle support to running an online voting trial among a small subset of voters in the next local government election, subject to a number of conditions being met.
These conditions include enabling legislation being passed in time to allow an online voting system to be implemented for 2019, online security risks being managed appropriately, confirmation of an acceptable level of costs, and final Governing Body approval before any trial goes ahead.
Mayor Phil Goff says it’s inevitable that online voting is the future and if we continue to rely only on the postal system we risk losing a whole generation of voters who experience the world online.
“We need to adapt to changing circumstances with how people participate in democracy, access information and communicate. There is strong support for online voting with 74 per cent of Aucklanders telling us after the 2016 election that they would prefer to vote online.
"It won’t solve all of the problems of low voter turnout at local elections but we should be looking to facilitate a 21st century way of voting that is more accessible for our growing and diverse communities.
“Online voting could work as effectively here as it does overseas but it is sensible to trial it first rather than jump in and do it across the board” says Mayor Goff.
Auckland Council will now investigate if a trial is feasible. It will explore joining with other councils to run one trial together, run a request for proposal process to engage a preferred vendor and establish a timetable and budget.
If a trial is deemed feasible a formal proposal will be presented to the Governing Body for final approval.
Other decisions made at the Governing Body were:
Decision-making delegation to Waiheke Local Board over public land Matiatia
The Waiheke Local Board has been delegated authority to make decisions on non-regulatory land use and development over public land at Matiatia, Waiheke Island.
The board can lead development of public land at Matiatia which has stalled since the former Auckland City Council bought the land in 2005.
Development of the land is expected to include open space, commercial long-term leases, visitor and cultural infrastructure and transport services. Auckland Transport and the Waiheke Local Board will work together to agree transport outcomes for the land.
See OurAuckland for more information about this decision.
Recommendations from the Appointments, Performance Review and Value for Money Committee - Value for Money (s17A) Review programme
Following the recommendations from the Appointments, Performance Review and Value for Money Committee, the Governing Body approved the terms of reference for the next two value for money reviews.
These are the Auckland Council Group Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and the Group Customer Services value for money reviews which will commence in May 2018.
The terms of reference are attached to the Governing Body agenda.
Local Board and Public Input
Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley spoke to the Governing Body about the Board’s request to be delegated decision making over public land at Matiatia.
Today’s Governing Body agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.