Renfrew undecided whether to go electronic
Alternative voting method. Stephen Beamish of Dartmouth-based Intelivote addresses Renfrew council. The business will provide electronic voting systems for about 30 Ontario municipalities in the October 2010 election Steve Newman
Forget about the old paper ballot. Several Renfrew County municipalities are making the move to electronic voting for the October 2010 municipal election.
Renfrew may also make the move, but town clerk Kim Bulmer is still weighing the pros and cons of converting to electronic voting, which means voting entirely on the Internet or by telephone.
Stephen Beamish of Dartmouth-based Intelivote, which offers alternative voting solutions in Canada and internationally, addressed town council Monday night. It was the second time he has spoken to some council members and staff, but all council members seemed impressed by the security features and the user-friendly
method of voting.
Beamish spent part of his presentation showing how one would cast his or her ballot, and how safety features eliminate the possibility of spoiled ballots.
Options, when voting, also include being able to cast no votes on portions of the ballot, and a full or partial number of votes where the voter is asked
vote for more than one candidate.
Already, McNab-Braeside, Laurentian Valley, Whitewater Region and Pembroke have decided to move to electronic voting for the Oct. 25, 2010 municipal election.
Electronic voting is the new wave, says John Baird, Laurentian Valley Township chief administrative officer and Renfrew resident.
Laurentian Valley would have spent about $38,000 on staff to count ballots and handle other assorted duties during the election. The switch to Intelivote
will save about $6,000, says Baird, whose township has about 8,500 voters.
The electronic system also saves a lot of time and paper, says Baird.
Instead of waiting several hours to count ballots, immediate, auditable results should be finalized within 30 minutes of the polls closing.
Bulmer says the move would result in minimal savings for Renfrew, which would have some costs over and above a $17,000 Intelivote bill.
“As the clerk, and looking at accessibility issues which the province has mandated us to look it, it’s something we have to look at,” said Bulmer.
Bulmer has yet to bring a recommendation forward to council for approval, but expects to make one at the next briefing session, on May 3.