The Welsh Government has announced plans to pilot remote online voting in elections. The decision follows a broad public consultation undertaken by the Government and was announced alongside a raft of other democratic reforms including lowering the voting age to 16.
It follows a similar commitment by the Scottish Government to trial online voting. These will be the first pilots of online voting in the UK for more than a decade.
I will enable pilots at local elections to explore electronic voting & counting, voting at different places & on different days. @ElectoralWales would evaluate the success of any pilot but its time to make process more modern & flexible, observing the need to keep systems secure
— Alun Davies (@wgcs_localgov) January 30, 2018
Local Government Cabinet Secretary, Alun Davies AM, said the changes will ‘modernise’ voting in Wales. The proposals, announced at the Welsh Assembly, include trials of online voting, electronic counting, and remote polling booths in supermarkets. He described the current method of voting as being “increasingly at odds” with people’s everyday lives.
Welcoming the news, Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy said:
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government has decided to back pilots of online voting for elections. Online voting has huge potential to engage a new generation of young voters in Wales, as well as enable voters with vision impairments and disabilities to independently cast ballots.
Now that both the Welsh and Scottish Governments have committed to pilots, it is time for the UK Government to follow suit. Online voting is the future of elections and it can’t indefinitely be kicked into the long grass.
Our research has shown that online voting could provide a more accessible, modern, and cost-effective method of remote voting. If designed carefully, it would be far more secure than voting by post. With much of the world’s attention focused on the integrity of electronic voting systems in the USA and elsewhere, today represents the best time to explore this ourselves here in the UK.”
Download WebRoots Democracy’s submission to the Welsh Government “From New South Wales to Wales, UK: The case for piloting online voting in elections” here.