Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario
"TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER"

         



Click And Vote?

Municipal units eye high tech ballot option for '08 by Kirk Starratt/The Advertiser

Intelivote Systems Incorporated Vice President of Market Development Michael Pollard says electronic voting can be beneficial to seniors or people with disabilities, but seems particularly effective in increasing participation among younger voters. K.Starratt Kings County Register

With technology evolving and accessibility to cellphones and the internet increasing all the time, the 2008 municipal election could put electronic voting to the test.

Kings municipalities could take revolutionary steps to try and combat voter apathy and increase participation among younger voters.

Kentville town council approved a motion in December to have Intelivote Systems Incorporated from Dartmouth, or a similar business, present its online voting program.

Intelivote Systems Vice President of Market Development Michael Pollard, who made a presentation to Kings County council's committee of the whole (COTW) in January, said some issues surrounding voting and elections include dropping participation levels, increasing costs and administrative intensity. He said the number-one issue of municipalities is voter list management.

Intelivote provides a seamless integration of traditional polling station voting with an electronic voting solution, including telephone and Internet voting. He said his company ran eight elections in Ontario in the last round of municipal elections there, they've run municipal elections in England and Halifax Regional Municipality has approved Intelivote for its 2008 municipal election.

PIN numbers are assigned to every eligible voter on the voter list and are sent through the mail prior to the election. The PINs are encrypted and only one per cent of the PINs available for any given election are used. This can help catch people trying to cheat. Every candidate gets an update to show who voted, by whatever method. However, no one can tell how a person has voted because the PIN and vote cast aren't linked.

Pollard said one of the most problematic parts of an election is a good voters' list. Intelivote makes the voters' list available for four years. Adjustments could be made' even if electoral district boundaries change. At the end of the election, Intelivote gives the municipality the list' and sends it to the province to update its list.

Pollard said 70 to 75 per cent of people would vote electronically given the chance - regardless of age.

"You'll get a participation rate increase. It may come from a demographic section you're not used to - young people," he said, pointing out electronic voting can be easier for seniors and people with disabilities.

You can't make a mistake or spoil a ballot electronically. If the election were over at 8 p.m., you'd have the results by 8:15 p.m.

Since each electoral district would count as a separate election, the county could do one district as a trial or apply the system countywide. The cost would be $3 per eligible voter. There would be no extra cost to include plebiscite questions with "yes" or "no" answers.

Pollard said most municipalities keep at least one polling station for paper ballots.

Pollard pointed out any municipality could apply for funding from the Eco Trust for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions - including switching to electronic voting procedures.

One con: you have to get the message out if the decision is made to switch to electronic voting. Disinformation will affect the turnout. Candidates play a vital role in this regard.

Councillor Madonna Spinazola asked county staff to come back with a recommendation to council at the February COTW session.

Reproduced from http://www.novanewsnow.com/article-180609-Click-and-vote.html.

More accessibility articles.