City councillors in Thunder Bay are one step closer to approving electronic voting for the next municipal election. Councillors like Trevor Giertuga say they’ve come around to accepting online and telephone voting. ”Last time I voted against internet voting, but this time, I believe I’m going to vote in favour of it,” he said. “But I don’t want to do it as a knee-jerk reaction based on frustrations from this election. I’m just changing my mind on this one.” Giertuga supported a call to ask the city clerk to examine electronic voting. Council received a very similar report about four years ago, which was turned down by council.
Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.
The government has introduced legislation to tighten the rules for Canadians who want to cast a ballot while living outside the country. Under the proposed new rules, anyone who wants to vote in a Canadian federal election while living abroad will have to provide proof of citizenship, as well as their most recent Canadian address, in order to receive a ballot. The new requirements will not apply to those serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. The chief electoral officer will also be authorized to cross-reference current voting list with citizenship and immigration data to purge non-Canadians from the voting list. A government-issued backgrounder accompanying the bill notes that in Canada, voters “cannot pick and choose their riding,” but are required to cast a ballot in the riding in which they live. ”By contrast, Canadians living abroad do not have to prove any past residence in the riding in which they vote,” it notes.
By law, Canada’s next federal election will take place Oct. 19, 2015. But taking no chances, Elections Canada will be election-ready on March 1. The “readiness date” appeared in an Elections Canada tender last week for multimedia kits — including USB keys preloaded with information about political financing — for distribution to federal political parties. But that doesn’t mean the agency necessarily expects an election to occur before next Oct. 19, as called for in Canada’s fixed date election law, spokeswoman Diane Benson said. “That’s a regular part of planning,” Benson said. “You need to have readiness dates, because our mandate is to be ready.”
While the company responsible for the delay in releasing results from the Oct. 27 municipal elections has apologized and offered compensation, 20 municipalities in Ontario are saying it isn’t enough. Scytl Canada Inc. was awarded the contract in January 2104 to provide election services for the internet and telephone ballots. However, on election night, municipalities using the service were waiting until after 11 p.m. for results that should have been made available by 8:30 p.m. due to human error. The delay, according to Scytl, was due to an anomaly found during routine processing causing tabulation to be rerun and a thorough manual audit to be done. Five election files had been mislabeled due to human error and rather than just rename the files, Scytl reran the entire process. Scytl stands by the fact the election results are 100% accurate. Municipalities affected received a letter of apology and an offer of a 25% discount on the final payment for their services in addition to a 10% discount on a future online voting project.
Should Canada require citizens to vote or face a fine as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and eight other countries do? Debate over the merits of compulsory voting seem to spring up every time there’s an election. Proponents see voting as an essential duty of citizenship, and no different in that respect from paying taxes. The Australian experience indicates that even a modest fine of $20 for non-compliance is enough to boost voter turnout to more than 90 per cent. By contrast, Canada’s voluntary voting system has produced an average turnout of 62 per cent over the past five Canadian federal elections. The compulsory voting debate cuts across ideological lines. Supporters include Justin Trudeau’s adviser Robert Asselin on the left and National Post columnist Andrew Coyne on the right. And, for once, good-government advocate Don Lenihan and the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute are on the same page—both opposed mandatory voting.
Michael Sona, the former Conservative staffer convicted in the 2011 robocalls scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in jail for what the judge called “an affront to the electoral process.” Justice Gary Hearn called his task “a difficult and troublesome sentencing.” The Crown had wanted Sona, 26, to spend at least a year and a half in custody for his role in a scheme to misdirect voters on the morning of the 2011 federal election. Sona hung his head and typed on a BlackBerry, his family members beside him in tears, as Hearn delivered his decision. Sona will also spend 12 months on probation.
A dozen Kingsville council candidates are asking for a recount and a thorough review after mislabelled files on election night led to a long wait for results and boosted concerns over Internet voting. “Bad, in a word,” candidate Derek Prowse said Monday of electronic voting. “Internet voting cannot be made secure.” Derek Prowse, was a candidate for council in Kingsville. Prowse wrote a letter to Kingsville administration and council asking that the electronic ballots be printed and manually counted. He said he and 11 other candidates recognize they are not going to change the election results but want some assurances that the electronic voting was a secure system and did the job properly. If ballots cannot be printed off, he said the company should go over all its data and make sure it adds up. … “With the electronic voting system, I don’t know how you can ever assure people that the data wasn’t corrupted,” said Prowse, a first-time candidate.
One of losing candidates in Leamington’s election questions the legitimacy of the vote because of a problem with the computerized tabulation. Robert Tatomir is calling for a review of the results. Leamington hired Scytl, an online voting company, to run its election. Voters cast their ballots online and nowhere elese. Results were expected within half an hour afer polls closed. Instead it took nearly three hours to tabulate results. In a statement Scytl says it detected an “inconsistency” in the naming of certain files, and required additional time to deliver the results to ensure the integrity of the election.
Greater Napanee mayoral candidate Robert Dorey is asking council to consider a recount of the municipal election results announced on Oct. 27. Dorey said in a statement issued to media and supporters that he has been “inundated with requests from supporters that I demand a recount of the votes cast.” Incumbent Mayor Gordon Schermerhorn regained the mayoral seat on Monday night with 2,907 votes — only three votes more than first-time candidate Dorey, who received 2904. While he doesn’t believe a recount will come up with a different outcome, Dorey does think that there are some major flaws with the electronic voting system that Greater Napanee adopted for the first time this election. “I don’t think that the results will change, but I think that it’s important that we use this opportunity to examine electronic voting in a way that really matters,” Dorey said in an interview with QMI Agency on Wednesday. “I’m doing this to draw attention to the flaws in the voting process. They were obvious to me, and to other candidates and residents in this election.”
Leamington and Kingsville are considering withholding payment to the company that conducted Internet voting this election after results came in hours later than expected. “I’m very disappointed,” said Leamington clerk Brian Sweet, who is bearing the brunt of complaints in his municipality about how long it took to release voting results Monday night. “We were under the impression we would have our results between 8:30 and quarter to nine, possibly, before 8:30,” Sweet said. Instead, like in Kingsville and Tecumseh, results were not released to waiting crowds until close to 11 p.m. “What was frustrating for us was we were not getting results and we weren’t getting any information or time estimates either,” Sweet said. “We didn’t understand what the problem was.”