British Columbians hoping to vote online in upcoming elections may be disappointed by the early findings of a panel of experts convened by Elections B.C. The Independent Panel on Internet Voting, formed at the request of the B.C. government, released today (October 23) a preliminary report that says it is “not feasible” for online balloting to be used in the 2014 civic elections. Furthermore, the five-member panel, chaired by chief electoral officer Keith Archer, is recommending that the province do not introduce universal Internet voting for both provincial and civic elections at this time. “However, if Internet voting is implemented, its availability should be limited to those with specific accessibility challenges,” the panel’s report states. “If Internet voting is implemented on a limited basis, jurisdictions need to recognize that the risks to the accuracy of the voting results remain substantial.” Read the Report
According to the panel, B.C. should take a “province-wide coordinated approach” to online voting, and a technical committee should be formed to evaluate such systems and help governments that choose to implement Internet balloting.
“The panel concludes that Internet voting has the potential to provide some benefits for administering local government elections and provincial elections in British Columbia and that the most significant potential benefit of Internet voting is increased accessibility and convenience for B.C. voters. Other presumed benefits, such as increased turnout and lower cost are not typically realized,” the report says.