World first for Internet Voting in Richmond? Actually, no

A rather breathless article popped into my newsreader today. The headline?

Richmond council is World first for internet voting

Hmmm. Right… give them a chance. Reading on…

Richmond upon Thames LBC are allowing residents the chance to vote online to help set the council agenda on key scrutiny issues. This will be the first time that internet voting has been used by a local authority in not only the UK, but in the World!

Oh dear, oh dear. Of course not only have other local councils used Internet voting in the past, but so have many other parts of this world of ours. Well still wanting to give some benefit of the doubt I click over to the voting page on Richmond's site. It's not even Internet voting, it's an online poll which anyone can participate in, not just residents. sigh

I'm all in favour of small, tactical e-democracy projects. It's a key theme of mine in presentations, but I also always argue for building low expectations. World firsts which are totally misleading do not help. Let's involve people in all levels of politics and democratic processes, but let's take the time to get the little things right too.