Secure online voting will be used in the Labour leadership election

Procedural guidelines published by the Labour Party this week have outlined that ‘secure electronic voting’ will be an option in the upcoming Labour leadership and deputy leadership elections.  This follows their adoption of online voting last year in internal elections for their National Executive Committee.

The UK Labour Party are electing a new leadership team following the Party’s defeat in the 2015 General Election and the resignation of previous leader Ed Miliband.  Acting leader, Harriet Harman, also announced that she would be vacating her Deputy Leader role.

Contenders for Labour Leader are former Health Secretary, Andy Burnham; Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper; Shadow Care Minister, Liz Kendall; Shadow International Development Secretary, Mary Creagh; and the prominent anti-war campaigner Jeremy Corbyn.

The procedural guidelines show that Electoral Reform Services (ERS) will be conducting the one-person-one-vote ballot.  The organisation also ran last year’s NEC elections.  Their website describes their online voting solution as ‘secure’ and that security is the ‘cornerstone’ of their brand.

Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper are thought to be the front-runners in the leadership race.

Labour aren’t the only party to use online voting for internal elections.  The Scottish National Party used it to elect their new Deputy Leader, Stewart Hosie, following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Labour have also called for online voting to be piloted in national elections with Tooting MP, Sadiq Khan blogging for WebRoots Democracy that online voting could lead to ‘a transformation in how people engage in democracy.’

The other method of voting in the Labour leadership election is by post, and for the first time the election will be a ‘one-person-one-vote’ election following reforms in the Party’s links with trade unions.  The election will also allow non-members to vote for a fee of £3.

Both the postal package and digital version will also include candidates’ statements and lists of nominations.

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

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