RealTime IT News

NRMA Nets Online Voters

NRMA's two-million members will participate in a trial of online democracy later this year when the motoring and travel organisation allows them to vote online at board elections.

Following a tender process, NRMA has enlisted election.com to provide online voting facilities for the NRMA Board elections to be held in September.

election.com provides public and private sector election services for governments, associations, non-profit organisations, labor unions, credit unions and corporations around the world.

The elections will be the first to be held since the demutualisation of the insurance company, and are designed to select a Board that will represent the members of NRMA Limited and help the organisation achieve its goal of being the worlds best motoring and travel organisation.

Being one of the largest organisations in Australia to hold elections outside the Federal and State election process, NRMA Limited faces the challenge of encouraging members to vote voluntarily.

"With around two million members we are keen to encourage as many as possible to vote for the election of NRMA Limited Board," said NRMA's deputy president Mary Easson. "We believe that an online option will appeal to many of our members because it will make voting simpler, easier and more convenient."

"Online voting is a particularly exciting development for the election process in general. NRMA elections are voluntary and by extending the voting options for members beyond the traditional postal vote NRMA is hopeful to see an increase in the overall level of member participation," she said.

Ms Easson said the provision of an online voting option had the potential to radically increase the participation rate of members in NRMA elections and to more accurately reflect their views and concerns. NRMA hopes to improve on the 23 per cent of members who voted in the last election in 1999.

"The introduction of on-line voting in the Arizona Democratic Presidential Primary in the USA in 2000 resulted in an increase in the participation rate by 600%. In a country where non-mandatory voting is in place this increase in participation is very impressive," Ms Easson said.

According to NRMA, the whole process will be subject to strict security measures and maintained by a multi-level authentication method that is similar to that used by financial institutions and online trading companies. The presence of a Returning Officer and the opportunity for scrutineers for the counting of votes will be established.