Tech generation wants online voting

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 10:32 08/07/2014
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A Massey University survey shows that young people are more likely to vote if it is made more convenient.

The research is based on a survey, which shows online voting is more of an incentive than a $50 payment.

The survey, which was conducted by academics and students from the university's politics programme, targeted 18- to 24-year-old students to gauge their attitudes to the upcoming general election.

Of the respondents who indicated they did not intend to vote, 75 per cent said they would be more likely to vote if online voting was introduced, while only 51 per cent said they would be motivated by a $50 payment.

Massey University politics lecturer Dr Damien Rogers said the results reflected the level to which technology shaped the lives of young people.

"Among our 288 responders we have a high level of technological literacy and there's a sense that they want voting to be made as convenient as everything else in their lives."

But politics programme colleague Associate Professor Richard Shaw warned online voting alone was unlikely to be the silver bullet that fixed declining participation levels among young voters.

"Online voting would help - but we should be careful to make sure the solutions match the problems.

"Amongst young people - and also amongst other groups who tend not to vote, including some migrant communities, and people who are either poor and/or who have not spent many years in formal education - the critical things are to demystify the voting process and to make politics relevant," Shaw said.

"The technology alone won't solve that problem - but... it's really important we don't let a generation of potential voters drift away from politics."

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