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Online voting to boost turnout: Greens

13:40 Sun Dec 11 2011

The Green Party wants parliament to consider online enrolment and voting for future elections, after a record low turnout for last month's election.

The final election results, released on Saturday, show only 74 per cent of enrolled voters cast a vote in last month's general election, down from 79 per cent in 2008.

Following the election, the Green Party called for parliament's justice and electoral select committee to look at why voter turnout was so low as part of its regular post-election inquiry.

The Greens have since undertaken an informal online survey, asking people what would make them more inclined to enrol or vote.

The survey received 1,059 responses over a three day period.

Of those who were not enrolled to vote, two-thirds said they would have been more likely to do so if they could online.

Currently, people can update their details online, but they have to either print out or be posted a form to sign and return.

Of those who didn't vote, 58 per cent said they would have been more likely to if secure online voting was available.

Many overseas voters said they had tried to vote, but had run into issues with finding fax machines or returning forms on time.

Green MP Gareth Hughes wants respondents' suggestions taken on board by parliament.

"We need to modernise our enrolment process and allow online enrolling because in 2011 many eligible voters, particularly young people, find it ridiculous they still need to post and fax forms just to get on the roll."

The Maori Party is supporting the Greens' call for an inquiry.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's concerning that Maori turnout is even lower than the general turnout.

Her party wants all Maori to be automatically enrolled on the Maori roll at age 18, with the option to transfer to the general roll if they want to.

"At least one part of the process would be taken care of and we could just focus on the significance of turning up to vote on polling day," she says.