The UK Government has appointed Chloe Smith MP as the new Cabinet Office Minister responsible for electoral reform following the Prime Minister’s January reshuffle. Her role is also known as the Minister for the Constitution, previously held by Chris Skidmore MP.
Smith is a key advocate of piloting remote online voting for elections. Writing for the WebRoots Democracy website in 2014, she said that she believes “an important reform is in the very way that we vote” and that online voting is “too obvious an area for reform to ignore if politicians are to think and act anything like the new generation which will grow to dominate.”
Following the publication of WebRoots Democracy’s “Secure Voting” report published in January 2016, Smith said:
“Sensibly legislating and implementing e-voting can be done if politicians admit that it is almost immoral by now to fail to consider it. It is a sizeable project and we should start it. Moving voting online does not need to scare us.
This is too obvious an area for reform. My generation is politically interested, but turned off by traditional politics. That means that today’s politicians have to engage today’s young people once again in the nuts and bolts of democracy.”
Writing in the foreword of the Secure Voting report, she wrote that work on online voting should start “without delay.” She also spoke at the first WebRoots Democracy event in 2014 entitled “Swipe Right to Vote: Can online voting future-proof elections?” A clip from this event can be viewed below.
The first challenges facing the new Cabinet Office Minister will be to put together proposals to improve access to voting for citizens with disabilities and to oversee trials of voter identification at polling stations.