B.C. municipalities want access to online voting in time for the 2014 civic elections, hoping to boost voter turnout by making it easier to cast a ballot. At least three communities — Coquitlam, North Vancouver City and Fort St. John — have asked the Union of B.C. Municipalities to push the province for legislative changes to allow Internet voting, saying it would be beneficial to the young, elderly and out-of-town workers.
Vancouver had sought to have online voting in place for this November’s municipal election but the provincial government said it needed more time to consider the move.
Coun. Raymond Louie said voters need another incentive to vote. “It’s a bit challenging for all of us,” he said. “It just makes it easier for people if you don’t have to physically go down [and cast a ballot]. “It provides a wider diversity of opportunity for constituents to vote; it certainly does help those with mobility challenges or just in terms of having the opportunity to get out.”
The proposals by the three municipalities will be considered by the UBCM at its annual convention, which begins Sept. 26 in Vancouver.
The UBCM noted that while the province said earlier this year that it supports Internet voting, “there are a number of challenges that still need to be addressed” in terms of security and voter identification.
But municipalities like Coquitlam argue it makes sense to allow online voting because residents are already using the Internet for banking, purchases, selling, networking and information.
Both the B.C. Liberals and NDP used online and telephone voting in their recent leadership races, while 44 per cent of municipalities in Ontario use online voting.
Coquitlam, which saw a turnout of 21.5 per cent in the 2008 municipal elections compared with a B.C. average of 35 per cent, said in its resolution that Internet voting would help to engage a greater number of voters who might otherwise be “too busy to vote in the traditional manner.”
Full Article: B.C. municipalities press for online voting.