On Wednesday morning, Edmonton’s city council voted against allowing internet voting in this year’s civic election.The main concern for those councillors who voted against internet voting is security and coercion. “Let’s say I have 20 friends. They don’t ever vote. I get a copy of their ID. I send them into you in some way or form from different outlets, from computers, have their passwords,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “So now I have the power of 25 votes, 20 votes, 15 votes, 12 votes, 3 votes. Not the ones in my house, but the ones outside my house. And that’s where I have concern with this,” added Mandel. “I don’t have a problem with internet voting. I like the idea of going in that direction. I’m worried that we may have needed more time to get this totally right so that we can say emphatically, yes, we’ve done every type of testing, and I’m not convinced yet that that’s been the case,” stated Ward 2 Councillor, Kim Krushell. Ben Henderson and Don Iveson were the only members of council who voted in favour of allowing online voting.
“That’s the one hesitation that I think that has cropped up here is that people may behave badly and try to manipulate the system through cheating and through voter fraud, but we deal with that with our current election and we do the best we can to root that out,” said Councillor Iveson.
“If we don’t do this now, we’ll be sitting here five years from now having a whole new set of questions about probably that will have moved on in five years,” explained Councillor Henderson.
Council’s decision goes against city administration and a citizen panel’s recommendations. The 18 member citizen panel spent three days in November hearing from experts about the pros and cons of online voting before making its recommendation.