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No plans to offer Internet voting in Barrie

In Adjala-Tosorontio
Oct 16th, 2014
1 Comment

By Laurie Watt Barrie Advance 

Barrie will continue to rely on adding polls at convenient locations, such as recreation centres, and at more times, rather than on offering Internet voting, city clerk Dawn McAlpine says.

“For larger municipalities, Internet voting is very, very costly. You have to send out PINs to everyone, whether they choose to use it or not,” she said, adding there’s still no evidence showing that online voting boosts voter participation.

“Markham and Peterborough are two of the larger municipalities that used it in 2006 and 2010 and they haven’t had a significant increase.”

McAlpine added there could also be oversight and quality assurance challenges.

“It’s a form of unsupervised voting, like voting by mail. They’ve historically been used by municipalities with a (large) non-resident population.”

The clerk said she’d like to have some auditing mechanism in place for Internet voting, which would be at an additional cost to the $190,000 estimate to offer online ballots.

Innisfil and other waterfront communities in which voters have a second property are offering online voting this election.

“It’s something we’re continuing to watch. It needs more time to develop,” McAlpine said.

“As technology changes, it will become less onerous and less costly. I’d want to have an external firm auditing it and that adds another layer of cost,” she said, adding Internet voting also requires a lot of IT support.

One Response to “No plans to offer Internet voting in Barrie”

  1. Connie Spek says:

    My concern as both a candidate and a voter is how is this electronic voting to be scrutinized? A key aspect of democracy is ensuring every vote is counted AND assigned to the person marked on the ballot. After seeing the serious problems with the provincial vote in New Brunswick recently, I have no confidence in a small rural municipality’s ability to handle such a vote. Bring back proper paper advance polling and add more convenient polling locations on Election Day. Rural municipalities are geographically large, there needs to be more than three locations in Springwater Township. I am hearing this at the door from residents.

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