Future elections are one step closer to including e-ballots as Edmonton’s executive committee voted Tuesday to petition the province to allow online voting. A brief report was brought to the committee at the request of Coun. Andrew Knack outlining what it would take for the city to include internet voting for future elections. “There’s no foolproof system,” admitted Knack, a proponent of online voting, in response to concerns raised about the potential threats that web-based elections may pose. Computer programmer Chris Cates voiced those concerns to the committee. “I see the Internet as full of risks,” Cates said. “In the long run, something is going to happen.” He referred to issues that were found in the online voting that the Alberta PC Party used when choosing Jim Prentice to lead them as an example of what can go wrong and warned that one person could seriously jeopardize the system. He added a recount would be relatively impossible because no paper ballots would be available to count.
Coun. Dave Loken did not support the online move but admitted he struggles with low turnouts for elections and would like to see that change.
Cates said the statistics he has seen, particularly those from Ontario where a recent election had 79 municipalities use both online and in-person ballots, showed little increase in voter turnout.