Calgarians won’t cast ballots online in October’s municipal election – and probably not in the 2017 election either – but the idea is receiving growing attention at city hall. “It is now potentially worth looking at, and I wouldn’t have said that two years ago,” said returning officer Barb Clifford, who has been paying close attention to the controversial idea. … Perhaps in 10 years, Ald. Richard Pootmans said he could see online voting in Calgary, but not as things currently stand. “I’m not sure the state of the technology is there right now,” he said.
Further development in biometric identification could help reduce the potential for voter fraud, Pootmans added. But Kirk Schmidt, a Calgary-based database consultant, said technological advances can only go so far and online voting will always have some inherent insecurities.
Even assuming perfect technological security, Schmidt said it’s difficult to protect against voter coercion or intimidation when people are voting from home or work. “In the voting booth you have that protection of a secret vote,” he said.
Schmidt noted voter coercion was a major concern for some of the Edmonton councillors who recently shot down online voting in the next municipal election, despite a relatively successful test vote in that city.