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Should New Zealand introduce online voting?

Natasha Hill

Sam Campbell from a leading company enabling online voting says it's done in many countries around the world.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Would you vote online? Some countries already are.

A Spanish provider of electronic voting systems and election technology called Scytl has had success in over 30 countries including Australia, Canada and France.

Their online vote platform, Invote centralises election planning and voting ballots.

Scytl Director, Sam Campbell says they wanted to reach communities such as blind voters and overseas voters who were underrepresented in traditional voting.

Their system uses cryptographic features and encryption with digital signatures for security.

He said the technology works by encrypting your vote on your device and then going through a secure tunnel and then it's stored in a database.

Even if someone breaks into the database, the data is encrypted and can’t be accessed. The data is not decrypted until the very end of the election, when everyone’s vote is decrypted together.

“If we are allowing people to vote online they can bring their own PC, their own mobile phones.

It will also encourage the younger generation to vote because of the digital world they live in.”

Campbell says some European research found that older voters also liked online voting

because they could do it privately from their retirement home or residence.

He says it’s clear that “voter attendance around the world is declining".

Many electoral bodies are aware of this and have addressed that by introducing online voting.

Campbell says online voting could be the more favourable way of voting because it is

cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

“Running elections in general is an expensive business. The Australian electoral commission is on the record for saying it’s the largest non-war event run in a country.”

He says the cost increases, as the number of voters involved increases.

“Whereas if you go online you’ve actually got a set-up cost but once it's set up if people are

voting from their own devices, that cost doesn’t really increase much at all.”

Sctyl recently won a contract to launch an online platform from which voters in the United Arab Emirates can elect members to the Federal National Council from any device with an Internet connection. Voters can also authenticate themselves with facial recognition.

Hero image: More than 30 countries around the world have online voting.

Photo/PMN News

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