Township adopts electronic voting in Oct. 25 election
By Liz Dadson
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A new wave of technology has been adopted for the next municipal election in Huron-Kinloss Township.
Council agreed last night (May 17) to implement electronic voting, through telephone and the Internet, in the Oct. 25 election.
Clerk Sonya Watson and administrator Mary Rose Walden recommended the E-voting method because it's easy and convenient, and will allow more electors to vote.
Two weeks ago, council heard a presentation from Intelivote, outlining how E-voting works, along with the advantages and the security systems in place.
"Internet and telephone voting has been successfully deployed around the world, and citizens with disabilities who can't get out to the polls, students who are away at school, military personnel actively deployed, snowbirds in the sunny south, cottage and property owners out of the area, and busy citizens everywhere, enjoy the opportunity to cast ballots electronically," state Watson and Walden in their report.
"We have already received numerous letters of support from lakeshore-area residents for the E-voting method. In conversations with Returning Officers from other municipalities, we have heard nothing but good comments in regards to voter turn-out, working with Intelivote, and the accuracy and integrity of the E-voting process."
The report responds to several concerns, the major one being how to accommodate senior citizens who may not be comfortable voting by telephone or computer.
About 2,000 people in the township are over the age of 65, the report states. "The telephone/Internet method of voting will ensure people unable to vote on their own are able to vote in a positive and safe environment within their home with a trusted assistant."
Other avenues are being explored for serving the residents of local nursing homes, and staff are planning to attend meetings of various seniors' clubs and organizations to discuss the E-voting system.
Electronic voting meets accessibility standards, states the report, ensuring the disabled can vote in a positive and safe environment using their own assistive devices. A touch screen voting device will also be available for those who choose to vote at the municipal office.
About 36 per cent of the township is classed as non-resident voters. E-voting will allow them to vote wherever they are. "By having the candidate website sponsored by HuronTel available to them, along with E-voting, a resident can sit down at the computer or use the telephone to make an informed vote," states the report.
There is a significant Mennonite population in Huron-Kinloss and staff is aware those residents do not use telephones or computers. "With the voter information letter, containing their PIN (Personal Identification Number), they can vote in confidence from any phone."
As well, the municipal office will be providing an E-voting station and people can use that if they are not comfortable voting from home or are unable to vote from home.
"The Internet is the fastest-growing medium in the world. Residents already use the telephone or Internet for day-to-day activities. E-voting allows voters to vote anywhere, anytime, with no chance for error. ... E-voting does not allow the voter to make mistakes. It's easy, accurate and the results are immediate."
Compared to the vote-by-mail method, which the township has used for the past two elections, the E-voting method is cheaper and results come in faster.
Councillor Lillian Abbott asked what equipment is required and how much does it cost to rent or buy.
Watson said the township would have to purchase two touch screens at a cost of $300 each, to have at the polling station at the municipal office.
Walden said staff could talk to the head of the Bruce County Library and request he waive the fee or the township could pay the fee for using the computers at the Ripley and Lucknow libraries during the seven days of voting up to and including Election Day.
"We should make it as easy as we can for people to vote," said mayor Mitch Twolan. "This is the direction we should go."
He said he used E-voting during an election for the realtors' association and it was easy and convenient to do. It also increased the number of voters who cast ballots.
"I'm comfortable with it provided all efforts are made to help seniors vote," said councillor Anne Eadie, "and that it's a secure system."
Council approved use of the E-voting system, and authorized an agreement with Intelivote Systems Inc.Also See:
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Monday, May 17, 2010