The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on electronic voting, including remote online voting, and said it ‘plans to trial’ the technology in future elections.
Writing in the foreword of the consultation paper, Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, said the way we run elections ‘has remained unchanged for over 100 years’ and posed the question of electronic voting:
“We already have electronic counting for local government elections. Is it the time to think about going one step further and introducing electronic voting? Could a new approach make voting more inclusive and increase turnout?”
The consultation paper asks two main questions on remote online voting:
- If internet or mobile phone voting was available, would you choose to use that rather than vote at a polling place or by post?
- If internet or mobile phone voting was available, would you be more likely to vote?
A recent WebRoots Democracy/YouGov poll found that 33% of voters would prefer to vote online, compared to 38% at a polling station, and 21% by post. For Scotland, this rises to 39% online, 41% at a polling station, and 15% by post.
The public consultation follows a similar move by the Welsh Assembly, however the commitment to trialing online voting could see the first UK pilots of e-voting in more than a decade taking place in Scotland.
The consultation is open until March 12th 2018, and can be accessed here.