Thanks to the province’s refusal to allow online municipal election ballots, voting in Airdrie this fall will be as difficult as heading to the nearest poll station and marking Xs on paper. The city of 45,000 people immediately north of Calgary was slated to become Alberta’s first online voting community after council endorsed the idea earlier this year following extensive study and testing. But Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths has scotched the plan for the 2013 civic election, telling Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown in a letter last month he worried e-voting would erode “public confidence” in elections.
Edmonton and St. Albert councils were similarly wary of the idea and rejected the concept, while Griffiths had already vetoed it before Strathcona County councillors could weigh in themselves.
However, Griffiths said he wants to continue studying Internet voting for future elections once the October civic races are over.
In Airdrie’s 2010 election, 31.5 per cent of eligible residents voted. Three years earlier, turnout was down at 12 per cent. But the city’s populace has proven eager to embrace web tools — more than half of residents fill out civic census forms online.