Conservative Party

UK Government ‘has not ruled out’ introducing online voting

The UK Government has not ruled out introducing online voting for elections, according to the Constitutional Reform Minister, John Penrose MP.

In an interview with the Local Government Chronicle, Mr Penrose described online voting as an ‘intriguing’ and ‘interesting’ idea that the Government is ‘keeping a close eye on.’

Acknowledging the potential security risks, the Cabinet Office minister said that the Government wants to see evidence that it would be ‘robust’ and difficult to hack. He added that online voting would be ‘incredibly convenient’ for voters.

“It’s intriguing, it’s interesting and we’re keeping a really close eye on the way the technology develops but we would also want to see really solid evidence in the future of it being robust and really hard to hack.”

This comes after the Government rejected proposals by Unite leader Len McCluskey to introduce online voting for trade union strike ballots.

39 million adults use the internet everyday in the UK.

39 million adults use the internet everyday in the UK.

All of the main political parties in the UK have now implemented online voting for their own elections with the Labour Party experiencing the largest online voting election in UK history when 81% of the Labour Party voted online to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader. More recently, thousands of Londoners voted for Zac Goldsmith to be the Conservative Party’s London Mayoral Candidate in an online ballot.

Separate research by the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee recommended that online voting should be implemented for the 2020 General Election.

A recent poll by WebRoots Democracy and YouGov found that 56% of the British public want to be able to vote online in the upcoming EU referendum.

Do you think the UK should introduce an online voting option for elections?  Take a moment to sign and share our e-petition.

Zac Goldsmith wins online vote to be the Conservatives’ London Mayoral candidate

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, has been elected as the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor in 2016 in an online ballot.

Goldsmith beat his rivals winning 70% of the 9,227 votes cast. Votes were cast ‘predominantly online’ with voters also able to take part via post.

The number of those who took part was however, significantly fewer than those who voted for Labour’s candidate, Sadiq Khan. 87,884 voters turned out for Labour’s selection. The BBC reports that some Conservatives have called for an ‘inquiry’ into the Mayoral selection process.

Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have backed WebRoots Democracy’s campaign for online voting following a poll by WebRoots and YouGov which found that 59% of Londoners are in favour of implementing online voting for the 2016 London Mayor election. Goldsmith said it is time for a ‘proper debate’ on online voting, and writing for WebRoots in October last year, Khan emphasised the need to ‘drag our democracy into the 21st century.’

Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have 'thrown their weight' behind the campaign for online voting.

Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have ‘thrown their weight’ behind the campaign for online voting.

Goldsmith’s online election now means that all main political parties in the UK have adopted online voting for their own party elections. Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was recently elected in the largest online voting election in UK history with 81% voting online. In London, the Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon, and the Green Party’s candidate Sian Berry were both elected in online ballots. Last year, the Scottish National Party also adopted online voting to elect their new Deputy Leader, Stewart Hosie.

Do you think the UK should introduce an online voting option for elections?  Take a moment to sign and share our e-petition.

Which Scottish #indyref campaign is leading on social media?

wetter togetherWith just over two weeks to go until Scotland decides it’s future in the Independence Referendum, WebRoots Democracy has analysed the social media followings of the two official campaigns who have been hitting social media hard with videos, statuses, twibbons and even ice-bucket challenges: Yes Scotland and Better Together.

This analysis is on the basis of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ followers.

On Twitter and Facebook, the Yes Scotland campaign is the clear winner with 67% of the share on Twitter (67,766 followers), and 58% on Facebook (240,095 likes).  On Google+, Yes Scotland are edging it with 51.1% of the share (34,534 followers).

The Better Together campaign has 33,140 Twitter followers, 174,366 Facebook likes, and 33,031 Google+ followers.

There is no data currently available for the number of YouTube subscribers to Yes Scotland’s channel, however in the number of views, Better Together is leading with 1,036,668 views compared to the Yes campaign’s 600,333.  However, this may be in part due to Better Together’s ‘The woman who made up her mind‘ video which came under heavy criticism on social media.

Not including YouTube, the Yes Scotland campaign is winning on social media with 58.7% compared to Better Together’s 41.3%.

Away from the Scottish Independence debate, in terms of political parties’ social media presence, far-right party Britain First is still leading on Facebook and Twitter with a combined following of 413,418, followed by the Conservatives (376,951); Labour (334,103); UKIP (303,932); Liberal Democrats (171,332); BNP (170,746); and the Green Party (144,458).

Far-right party, Britain First, now has the largest social media presence

In the run up to the 2015 General Election, WebRoots Democracy will be analysing the social media followings of the main political parties and publishing monthly ‘Election by Social Media’ results.

This analysis is on the basis of Facebook and Twitter followers and generates a percentage share of followers, where in this case followers equals votes.

Below are the results for June 29th, 2014:

Election by Social Media june

Britain First is a far-right, nationalist party formed by ex-members of the British National Party in 2011.  It has no elected representatives in Local Councils, the European Parliament, or the UK Parliament, but the popularity of its Facebook page has surged since the 2014 D-Day.

In this analysis, Britain First are ahead of the Conservatives by 8.9 percentage points on social media as a result of a stronger Facebook following (497,554 likes).

Labour have the best Twitter presence, however, with 142,629 followers; over 28,000 followers ahead of the Conservative Party.

UKIP are also performing strongly on Facebook (226,091 likes) making up for a poor Twitter following (62,663).

The Liberal Democrats take 5th place, thanks to a stronger Facebook presence.  On Twitter, they are almost neck-and-neck with the Green Party.

Similar to UKIP, Britain First have a weak Twitter presence with just 3,655 followers.

See last month’s analysis here.

Election by Social Media

In the run up to the 2015 General Election, WebRoots Democracy will be analysing the social media followings of the main political parties and publishing monthly ‘Election by Social Media’ results.

This analysis is on the basis of Facebook and Twitter followers and generates a percentage share of followers, where in this case followers equals votes.

Below are the results for May 31st, 2014:

Election by Social Media - May 31

In this analysis, the Conservatives are just edging Labour by 0.2% on social media as a result of a stronger Facebook following (203,175 likes).

Labour have the best Twitter presence, however, with 139,546 followers; over 27,000 followers ahead of the Conservative Party.

UKIP are also performing strongly on Facebook (194,058 likes) making up for a poor Twitter following (61,716).

The Liberal Democrats take 4th place, thanks to a stronger Facebook presence.  On Twitter, they are almost neck-and-neck with the Green Party.