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Calls for electronic voting to be introduced in Pembrokeshire Council

IN a bid to overcome a “democratic deficit” a councillor has called for electronic voting to be introduced.

Following a notice of motion from Cllr Joshua Beynon that all votes be recorded and made public, the corporate overview and scrutiny committee agreed to explore the idea further.

Cllr Beynon’s motion states that  “every vote taken during all public meetings of Council, Cabinet, scrutiny, regulatory and other committees is formally recorded both in the minutes and on a section on the website with the Member’s decision against it.”

He said that recording votes would allow constituents to see what their councillors had voted for or against, increasing “transparency in the democratic process.”

At the scrutiny committee on Tuesday (Jul 2) members agreed that the current ‘roll-call’ system of recording votes would not be suitable for all votes as it would take too long, but other options should be explored.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, said there was not a budget for updating the webcasting system or adding electronic voting  – with a report to the committee estimating costs in the region of £80-100,000.

Cllr Jamie Adams said he did not object to “critical” votes being recorded but other votes were of a “less critical nature.”

But Cllr Beynon added that “what might not seem critical to us might be critical to someone else.”

And Cllr Mike Stoddart added that he believed it is a “fundamental right in democracy that people should know how their elected representative has voted.”

He proposed that a politically balanced working group be set up to explore the possibility and financial implications of introducing an electronic voting system and associated improvements. This was approved by the committee.

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