A citizens jury has decided it will recommend the city adopt internet voting as an option for the next municipal election. The jury- who voted 17-1 in favour- says internet voting will make the process easy, simple and fast. The idea behind a citizens jury is that given enough time and information, ordinary people can make decisions about complex policy issues. While internet voting is already offered in over 60 municipalities in Ontario and Nova Scotia, there are some concerns over security, fraud, privacy, accuracy and accessibility- to name a few.
In order to give the best recommendation possible, the jury spent three days hearing from technical experts, scholars and municipal administrators in order to weigh the pros and cons of internet voting.
“There’s experts on security and technology. There’s people that are really looking to set the whole Canadian context of internet voting, and some case studies from different municipalities who have already adopted internet voting,” Fiona Cavanagh, Project Manager, Centre for Public Involvement, City of Edmonton.
The 18-member jury was made up of citizens of Edmonton that were randomly selected to take part in the consultation process.
“We have a mini public of Edmonton. So, a group that is as representative as possible, as a group of 18 can be, of the Edmonton public,” Cavanagh explained.