The former Head of the UK Civil Service, crossbench Peer, and President of the Local Government Association, Lord Kerslake has suggested that online balloting is more secure than postal ballots in a piece written for the Guardian newspaper.
Arguing the case against proposals to bar trade unions using online voting for strike ballots, Kerslake said:
“The most completely unreasonable requirement is that trade unions will not be able to conduct these ballots electronically. In 2007, when I was chief executive of Sheffield city council, we ran one of the biggest electronic voting pilots. It was not without its challenges, but I came to the very clear conclusion that electronic voting is as least as secure, if not more so, than postal ballots. Since then we have got used to carrying out vastly more of our lives online.”
His comments are related to the Government’s Trade Union Bill which is at the second reading stage in the House of Lords.
In 2007, five electronic voting pilots were conducted and the Electoral Commission considered that these had been ‘broadly successful’ but that ‘there were some issues concerning accessibility’ and ‘public understanding of the pre-registration process.’
A recent poll by the Trades Union Congress and YouGov, found that 53% of the British public support the introduction of online strike ballots. TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said the Government should modernise the voting method in order to raise democratic participation.
Introducing online voting for trade union strike ballots was one of the recommendations made in WebRoots Democracy’s Viral Voting report last year, and was a move supported by the previous Business Secretary, Vince Cable, prior to the 2015 election labelling it as a “sensible reform.”
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