News, Events and Culture

Electronic voting system trial underway at Palmerston North City Council

Tuesday October 16 2012

Palmerston North City Council is the first local government authority in New Zealand to use electronic voting (E-voting) at all Council meetings.

Council chief executive Paddy Clifford says E-voting aims to strengthen Council's commitment to conducting business in an open, transparent and democratically accountable manner.

E-voting was adopted by Councillors after members of the public asked Councillors to consider it during the 2010 Annual Plan process.

Why Electronic voting?

  • All votes, at full Council or Committee level, are now divisional votes. This means that each Councillor's name is recorded alongside their vote.
  • Councillors only know how other members voted once the votes are tallied and published which prevents sequential voting.
  • Members of the public can easily see on a screen how each Councillor voted.
  • Councillors wanting to talk to a recommendation now have to click a button which enters them into a queue and they are provided speaking rights on a first clicked first served basis.

Paddy Clifford says like justice, democracy must be seen to be done and E-voting is one of the tools to allow that to happen.

Governance & support team leader Tracey Nielsen says the software was purchased from IML, a global computer software company with offices in Auckland, at a cost of $15,145.

She says while the software used does not allow for the voting to be recorded live on the internet this is something that is under consideration.

The current system is being trialled by Councillors at both Committee and Council meetings until December when they will make a decision to continue with E-voting or not.