Could Voting Move into the 21st Century?

After a successful trial of allowing people in Douglas South to vote at any polling station in the constituency during this year’s General Election, the scheme could be rolled out across the island in future elections.

The trail allowed voters in Douglas South to vote at any polling station in the constituency, with polling staff crossing off residents on ‘an app’ instead of using a ruler, a pen and a piece of paper.

On Election Day, 90 of the 2295 voters in Douglas South opted to vote at a different polling station to the one they were allocated.

While this is a small figure, the system itself worked fine and Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan said: ‘This reaped benefits on Polling day in that the voters passage through the polling station was quick, efficient and seamless.’

Exactly how slow, inefficient and filled with seams the other polling stations across the island were is not outlined in Mrs Lord-Brennan’s response to Douglas South MHK Claire Christian but largely the election went by successfully.

Oberservers

This year’s election was of course observed by a team from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region. They said of the trial: ‘The project appears to have been a success, based on the Mission’s polling day observations. The system was easy to use for staff and numerous voters attended polling stations that were not their originally designated one. Staff coordinating the technology supporting the online process reported no errors or failures of the system during polling day.’

The Future

Now 2026 is a long way away, some may even tell you it is half a decade and with a boundary review due at some point soon, we don’t know what the island’s political makeup will be by then. But with this trial in Douglas South proving a success and with the world moving away from paper, rulers and pens, it seems almost inconceivable that voters wouldn’t be able to vote at any polling station across the island, or better yet, from wherever they want to using this mystical development called ‘an app’ by the time the 2026 General Election comes around.

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