Online voting may boost participation rate

Online voting may boost participation rate

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The City of Gosnells would continue to lobby for the introduction of online voting for local government elections to increase voter turnout.

Voter turnout was typically lower for local government polls compared to compulsory state and federal elections with the City of Gosnells being among the worst for voter participation.

Last election in 2013 just 28 per cent of enrolled voters participated across the state, dropping three per cent since the election in 2011.

The City of Gosnells recorded about 20 per cent participation rate in 2013.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said the introduction of online voting for local government elections would increase voter turn out by making the process more accessible and efficient. He said in the meantime the city was promoting the elections in local media, on its website and through social media.

Similar campaigns were being conducted by the Western Australian Local Government Association, the Western Australian Electoral Commission and the Department of Local Government and Communities.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson believed online voting was an inevitability but it would have to be decided by the commission.

“I think online voting will happen in the future and it’s only a matter of time but I don’t know when it will be,” he said.

“There has been an increasing decline in voting and it’s concerning because it’s part of the democratic process and if you don’t vote then you don’t get a say.”

There were seven seats up for grabs at the City of Gosnells, which had a single ward system meaning residents could cast their vote for any candidate.

The six candidates with the highest number of votes would serve a four-year term and the seventh candidate would serve a two-year term.

The two-year term would fill a vacancy left by former councillor George Scott who resigned in late 2013.

Local government elections would be held on October 17.