Canada: Western University expert warns municipalities against using online voting | Megan Stacey/The London Free Press
Online voting in municipal elections is “basically the Wild West,” rife with security and legal risks for cities, a Western University researcher warns. Almost half of Ontario municipalities offered voters the chance to cast their ballots online in the 2018 election, though it’s not been an option in London. “If municipalities use online voting, they are exposing themselves to cyber, legal and reputational risks,” said Aleksander Essex, a Western computer engineering professor and privacy expert. And it could come back to bite taxpayers, he stressed. “We expect there are going to be lawsuits. In fact, there already has been,” Essex said. “We have identified the risks, and we are encouraging (municipalities) to not use this technology until some standards can be developed.” All small municipalities in the London region offered voters the chance to cast ballots online in 2018, and Sarnia council voted last month to use internet-only voting in the next election in 2022.