I would never vote in a NZ online election. Ever.


The Front Page podcast: Why online voting is coming for local elections, ready or not

Each week The Front Page takes you behind the scenes of the biggest story from the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB. Today it’s miniscule numbers of people voting in local elections, and what needs to change. Hosted by Frances Cook.

Local body elections are closing this weekend, but are already marred by plummeting voter turnout in many areas.

At the last available count, 22.6 per cent of Auckland’s voters have had a say.

Meanwhile in Wellington, as of Wednesday, only 25.4 per cent have cast a vote.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Some, even the Prime Minister herself, are suggesting this means it’s time for online voting.

Stealing a hard-copy election is surprisingly difficult and very hard to hide. Stealing an on-line election, however, is a much easier proposition. If it’s done properly, no one but the people who paid for the hack will ever know.

…because of the ease of hacking online voting machines, any NZ election that adopts online voting would mean I would never vote again.

If the result is open to hacking, participation is a democratic pretence for legitimisation & I won’t participate in that farce


  1. Yes martyn you are correct 100%

    Global control over election using electronic tabulation is now in jeopardy as corrupt Billionaire George Soros has ownership of a company now counts all global elections and he can change any result if he doesn’t like a country’s policy’s.

    The issue is everything in electronic tabulation is controlled by a “source code” that is a key opening and controlling the algorithms used in the program that is used during the counting of the electronic returns.
    As the “source code is ‘owned by the program producer (soros) no-one can get access to it to go though the counting again to find any false changes that may have been done.

    10% change can be made simply using access with the course code we are told.

    So we need to keep the VVPAT (paper backup file to check for false evidence of counting voting in marginal elections.
    VVPAT= Voter-verified paper audit trail

    Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verifiable paper record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results. It contains the name of the candidate and symbol of the party/individual candidate.

    Voter-verified paper audit trail – Wikipedia
    In India, the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in 2014 Indian general election. VVPAT was implemented in Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram constituencies.

  2. It’s not just the pervasive threat of hacking/tampering, but any software program of sufficient complexity *will* contain bugs/defects/coding errors/vulnerabilities simply through human errors or oversight or evolving technology

  3. If this country ever moves too hold our elections online then it is the end of corruption free voting and the neo liberal massacre of our democracy.
    It is typical that low voter turnout that has been dropping long before the internet became addictive is being used as an excuse too move it all online as an answer too the problem , once again ignores the massive elephant in the room.
    No one will ever convince me that my vote online is SAFE , not with this countries track record of corrupt practices and doing everything including disregarding safety because of cost in a deregulated economy.
    Just look at the treasury breach over the budget in May and NO ONE WAS ACCOUNTABLE.
    Voter apathy has been a long slippery slide since 1984 only increasing temporarily with MMP in 1996.
    Jacinda has opted for the easy fix while ignoring the real reasons for the poor turnout at this local body election.

  4. Kia ora Martyn
    Congratulations on setting out the condition upon which you would join with the 70% of New Zealanders who do not participate in the colonial regime’s local body electoral system, and the half of New Zealanders who choose not to vote in parliamentary elections.
    There is no doubting that it is easier to pervert electronic elections than paper based ones.
    As noted above the risk of electronic fraud can be significantly reduced by paper verification of individual votes, but that comes at the cost of compromising the secret ballot. If the voter’s identity and his vote are linked at any point in the algorithm, then state agencies will be able to determine how each voter chose to cast their vote.
    It would seem odd to have a system in which the SIS and GCSB know how you voted, but your family, friends, neighbours and workmates did not.
    I would do away altogether with the relatively modern innovation of the secret ballot, which is a major hindrance and impediment to genuine democracy, but it should be replaced by a truly open ballot, not by a secret ballot to which the state security agencies have privileged access.
    However the technical details of the system are not the direct cause of declining participation in the electoral system.
    People simply know that their vote will change nothing, that the politicians do not represent them and that the regime is not responsible to them in any meaningful way. They (and that “they” includes many of the 30%-50% who do actually vote) know that the system is fundamentally flawed and fraudulent.
    If it does come to the point that you also withdraw your support from the regime by ceasing to vote, and presumably cease urging others to vote, then I hope that it will be on broader grounds than you have laid out here.

  5. No-one cares about local government
    This from No Right Turn.
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets do our local body elections the same way! Except of course online voting is still fundamentally insecure (see also: XKCD), and that hasn’t changed. But companies – like electionz – would get to make money out of it, so they still keep pushing it.

    Meanwhile, local body turnouts have been low for years – around 50% in 1989 – and while it has dropped since then, it was hardly stellar to begin with. Which suggests that while there’s the overall trend of declining participation also seen in national elections, there’s something else going on with local body which is nothing to do with the voting method. And there’s an obvious answer: no-one cares. And its easy to see why: what local government does is mostly invisible. Add to that media coverage focused on Keeping Rates Low which automatically alienates anyone who doesn’t own a house, “conflict of interest” rules which prevent councillors from actually representing their voters, and a parade of cookie-cutter dead white male candidates who alienate anyone who isn’t like them, and it is easy to see why people just decide its not worth bothering with. These people have nothing to do with our lives, so we try and ignore them (until we can’t). And I say all that as someone who does care, who thinks that local government decisions matter. But the institution doesn’t make it easy to believe that.

    (DHBs are even worse: a “local body” whose decisions are in practice entirely dictated by central government, and which seems to exist solely as a blame-sink for the Minister. Why vote for the monkey rather than the organ-grinder?)

    People vote when they care. If we want people to vote, local government needs to be something people can care about. And that’s going to require bigger changes than how we vote (though changing to universal STV, so non-Boomers can actually get represented, would be a start)

  6. Most people still know what the post is about, they still have a letter box and get mail now and then. If they cannot bother reading the voter info they get by post, they will not do so online either. It is BS to think that we get better outcomes by online voting. We may even get spur of the moment emotional votes that are not good. So stick with postal and personal on site voting, thanks, all else will not bring any improvements.

    If people cannot bother, then there is something wrong with the candidates and system as a whole, not with the voting system.

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