Introducing VoteOnline!
How we used our renewed and improved online voting platform for Kids Voting 2016

In the 2016 local government elections we worked with Auckland Council to deliver online voting for Kids Voting to 56 schools across the Auckland area, with over 11,000 students signing up to take part.

In both 2013 and 2016, Election Services’ online voting platform VoteOnline was used, giving students the ability to vote in any way they chose.

Having recently undergone significant improvements in anticipation of a 2016 local authority election online trial, our VoteOnline platform was ready to be tried by the kids of Auckland and the results were resoundingly positive!

About

The Kids Voting initiative was introduced by Election Services in 2001. It is aimed at giving 11-15 year old students (school years 7 to 10) an opportunity to experience the election process first hand. Kids from schools across Auckland participated in a mock election, voting on real candidates and issues.

The Goal

Election Services was given the opportunity to use our recently improved VoteOnline platform, allowing us to trial the renewed software on a large scale, receive feedback on the experience and importantly, give kids the ability to get involved in the democratic process in a modern and accessible way!

The Result

56 schools participated with over 11,000 kids enrolled to vote. Our system received nearly 5,000 votes, and user feedback was overwhelmingly positive! Using VoteOnline meant that all users’ votes were cast error free and that the voting process was interactive, engaging and accessible.

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Approach

Organising an online voting trial for schools across the Auckland area, all while under a tight timeframe was no easy feat.


An Upgrade

Starting back in 2009, our VoteOnline platform has been giving New Zealanders the chance to use their home and mobile devices to vote with confidence and ease. In anticipation of the 2016 local authority election online voting trial our platform received a significant upgrade to its software and processing standards. As you can imagine, we were eager to give the new software a spin.

Deployment

VoteOnline is an internet based platform accessible from any modern browser and any device. In order to facilitate the Kids Voting election, Election Services established voting parameters for FPP and STV styles of voting as well as voting issues for Mayor, Council, Local Board candidates and a referendum question that would have a real world impact in the kid’s local communities.

Voting packs were sent out to schools containing user credentials to be distributed on Kids Voting Day.

Kids Voting Day

Under scrutiny from media and Auckland Council representatives, the VoteOnline system performed without issue on the day. Kids were given their voting credentials after being marked off the roll and cast their votes on their device of choice (mobile, laptop, tablet, desktop - anything goes).

Processing

Kids Voting Day fell before the Election Day itself and the results were generated after to avoid confusion. Our unique Election Management Software system, working with the online platform, gave Auckland Council and media groups like NZ Herald all the data they needed in a timely and clear manner, giving insight into the opinions of young people across the Auckland region!

Results


Use of the VoteOnline platform was a success. Students praised the ease of use and appreciated being able to vote on their device of choice. The trial ran without incident and successfully processed thousands of votes without issue.

Kids Voting 2016 saw an increase of 1,282 students cast their votes over the 2013 election, with a turn-out of 42 percent, higher than the turn-out for adults.


56

Participating schools across Auckland.

4,748

Votes processed by our VoteOnline system!

11,730

Students registered to vote!