HORSHAM Rural City Council has encouraged the Local Government Election Review Panel to consider electronic voting.
Chief executive Peter Brown said electronic voting might encourage young people to participate in council elections.
“One in four people didn’t vote in the last local government elections, the majority of whom were younger voters,” he said.
“There needs to be greater measures to encourage young people to vote.”
The council also supported postal voting.
“We think postal voting produced a higher turn-out of voting,” Mr Brown said.
He believed postal voting gave people more of an opportunity to fully consider their votes, and resulted in more formal votes.
“There is no evidence the postal voting system is insecure or has faced any form of abuse,” Mr Brown said.
The Local Government Electoral Review Panel, which is reviewing the system that elects shire councillors, convened in Horsham on Tuesday.
Mr Brown addressed the panel.
He urged panel members not to focus on the poor behaviour displayed by a small number of candidates during the 2012 municipal elections.
“Across the state, the vast majority of the 2000 candidates acted with integrity and decency,” he said.
He said all of the Wimmera’s candidates had been very respectful throughout the process.
Mr Brown said there were no candidate donations recorded in Horsham.
He said there was also little history of candidates in the Wimmera exchanging voting preferences.
“There’s certainly none in Horsham,” Mr Brown said.
He believed donations and preference deals had been the source of most of the issues in the 2012 elections throughout the state.
“We’ve been relatively free of it, which is part of the reason we run very effective elections and get good candidates from them,” Mr Brown said.
West Wimmera Shire Council chief executive Mark Crouch also attended the panel hearing.
He said he would be very interested if there were any regulatory changes as a result of the review.
“The electoral process is already heavily regulated – council would generally be concerned if the process was made more complex via increased regulation,” he said.
The Local Government Electoral Review Panel, appointed by the State Government in August, is examining four aspects of council elections – the electoral process, voter participation, integrity and electoral representation.
A discussion paper about the review is available on the State Government’s website www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au.
Public submissions will be accepted until November 5.
Following feedback, the panel will compile and deliver two reports to Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell next year. One is due in January and the second in April.