Thursday, June 29, 2017
Oro-Medonte council should be applauded for moving our township into the 21st Century by recently deciding to include electronic voting in the next municipal election.
The 2018 voting process will now include options for paper ballot in advance polls, in addition to telephone and Internet voting for a longer period of time (a week to 10 days).
At the municipal level, Canada has become a world leader in Internet voting, with six provinces already passing legislation to allow various forms of electronic participation.
Particularly in Ontario, where the 2014 election saw 97 local governments out of 414 offer online voting. Obvious benefits include increased choice for electors on how and when they cast their ballot and accessibility for those with disabilities or health issues. Although there are reasonable security concerns, the technology has steadily improved, and like Internet banking, has become widely accepted and mainstream.
Similarly, voting via telephone with a password has been fully established, Canadian Banks have provided secure telephone services for over 25 years.
Electronic voting also provides environmental benefit with less people driving to polling stations, less paper and training material.
As with any government service, cost to taxpayers is certainly an important aspect. The 2014 Oro-Medonte municipal election cost just under $82,000, the budget for the 2018 election is capped at $20,000 over the previous 2014 paper-only method. I believe most residents would agree this is a worthwhile investment.
All levels of government must work through rapid technological advancements, which encompass every service delivered to the public. It is our politicians’ responsibility to carefully examine where and how changes to current process can positively impact the services offered to their communities. In this case, Oro-Medonte council has made the correct decision.
Darren R. Brett