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Springwater voter cards delay raises security concerns UPDATED

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In Adjala-Tosorontio
Oct 20th, 2014
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UPDATE :Two envelopes, one wit the voter notification card and PIN number and one with the password, were delivered by Canada Post to many addresses across Springwater on October 24, the Friday before the Monday election.

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network

Electors in Springwater may have concerns about the security of their vote following a delay in the mail-out of the cards needed for the electronic voting system introduced by the current council.

Voter notification cards with the PIN number required for voting by phone or online were supposed to arrive before the Oct. 20 date on which voting starts (10 a.m. today).  A password was to arrive in a separate envelope.

A news release posted Friday on the township website states the cards will arrive this week and those who wish to vote before they arrive should contact the help desk of the US company Everyone Counts.

“Does anyone realize that this is a disaster!” said mayoral candidate Bill French, who questioned why the township had not reacted with more urgency.

Candidates were not notified of the delay, he said, and only found out by calling the township last week after hearing from residents that they had not received any material. “We had understood that there would be two mailings about a week apart. The week of the fifth was to be a User Name and Card. Week of the 12th was to be the PIN.”

An email address and a 1-888 number provided on the township website enables residents who cannot wait for the delivery to obtain their PIN and password. French said he’s concerned about the provision of such supposedly secure information over the phone.

Residents who call are asked to answer “predetermined security questions,” namely their name, address and date of birth. But the information is not strong evidence of the identity of the caller and the safeguard provided by supplying PIN and password separately is eliminated.

Springwater’s procedure also includes voting in person on Election Day. Residents will need either the voter notification cards or proof of identity to vote. 

A survey of voting across the county reveals a wide variety of approaches. Nine municipalities, including Barrie and Orillia, have in-person only. Others have a combination of mail, internet and in-person. Collingwood, Tiny and Ramara have mail-only voting, Clearview has internet only.

In an interview with the Barrie Advance, Barrie Clerk Dawn MacAlpine said “unsupervised voting” – electronic or by mail – raises oversight and quality assurance issues.  Historically, mail-in ballots have been used by municipalities with large non-resident populations.

MacAlpine also said electronic voting is expensive because of the cost of the cards and the mailing, and there’s no evidence it increases voter turnout.

How municipalities vote

Adjala Tosorontio

In person only. Advance voting at township office Oct. 18 and Oct 22. Locations in each of 5 wards on Oct. 27

Barrie

In person only. Six advanced voting days at city hall. Twenty voting locations on Oct. 27.

Bradford-West Gwillimbury

In person only. Six advanced voting days, mobile voting station visiting five seniors residences, five voting locations on Oct. 27, residents can vote at any one of the five regardless of where they live, free public transit with voter’s card.

Midand

In person only, one location (North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre). Advanced voting on three days

Essa

In person only. Advanced voting Oct. 18.

New Tecumseth

In person only. Advanced voting on six days at various locations. Voting on election day in one of eight ward polling stations.

Orillia

In person only. Advanced voting on six days. Voting on Oct. 27in one of four ward polling stations. Free ‘Election Express’ transit to polling stations.

Oro-Medonte

In person only. Advanced voting on three days. Voting on Oct. 27 in one of seven locations.

Severn

In person only. Advanced voting on Oct.18 and Oct. 22 at the municipal office. Voting on election day in one of five wards

Tay

Vote by mail and in person. Ballots to be mailed back by Oct. 18 or dropped off at the municipal office by Oct. 27 at 8 pm. Voting on Oct. 27 at the municipal office

Innisfil

Voting by mail and internet.

Penetanguishene

Voting by phone, internet and in person. Online and telephone voting started Oct. 14. One location on Oct. 27.

Springwater

Vote by phone, internet and in person. Online and telephone voting starts Oct. 20. Three locations on Oct. 27.

Wasaga Beach

Vote by phone or internet. Voting began Oct. 17.

Ramara

Vote by mail only. Mail by Oct. 18 or drop ballot off at township administration centre before Oct. 27 at 8pm

Collingwood

Vote by mail only. Ballots to have been mailed out Oct. 2. Completed ballots must be mailed by Oct. 18 or dropped off at one of the ballot return stations at town hall, or at the after-hours drop box at town hall, by Oct.27 at 8p.

Tiny

Vote by mail only. Ballots to have been mailed out Sept. 29, voters encouraged to mail completed ballots by Oct. 18 or drop them off at the municipal office by Oct. 27 at 8p.

Clearview

Electronic voting only– by telephone or internet. Started Oct. 17, continues to Oct. 27 at 8p.

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