Electronic Voting

At tomorrow morning’s Committee of the Whole, Council will be considering a staff report on E-Voting. A small portion of the staff report is included below. For the full report click on https://wolfville.ca/committee-of-the-whole.html . I would be interested in your thoughts with regard to this upcoming issue. The decision will not be final until this month’s Council meeting scheduled for 6:30 on Tuesday, June 18th (this will be the earliest final vote).

” [From June 4th Agenda for COW} October 2020 is the next municipal election for Nova Scotia and in preparation municipalities can decide if they will be offering voters an option to vote electronically, vote at the polling stations on paper, or a combination of both. Providing an option to vote from a computer or cell phone in your own home, or
using a local Library designated computer, or a computer booth at the polling station is an important part of ensuring all voters have easy and efficient access to the electoral process. This Request for a Decision recommends that Town Council move to offering all future elections electronically.

Electronic voting, or evoting is increasingly becoming the method of choice for elections in Canada and around the world. The benefits include ease of access for all, privacy for special populations, a much faster experience to cast a vote, no spoiled ballots, less paper involved, and almost immediate results available for election organizers.

In 2012 and 2015 Town Council voted not to implement evoting because of concerns with: voter engagement in the process, removing voters from the safe environment of polling stations, making voting a more casual activity, the security of online voting, and voters responding in the moment and being influenced by others at the time of their vote. Staff believe that voter and candidate engagement in the electoral process is a separate and valid concern but not something impacted by allowing electronic
voting. To support increased engagement an Engagement Plan will be developed to focus on the subject, to be launched in January 2020.

Although there are potential risks and drawbacks for evoting such as online security concerns, and the digital divide between generations, the research and trials in other municipal units show that the benefits outweigh the risks. As an example, Online banking has become the norm for many over the past 10 years, despite occasional bank security issues, for the most part, people appreciate the easy access to carry out
transactions afforded to them. Council would be offering voters an easily accessible way for all to vote if they implement evoting for the 2020 municipal election.

That Town Council approve the development of a bylaw authorizing voters to vote electronically in the 2020 municipal election and that there be no use of paper ballots. “


Let me know your thoughts.

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