Elections Canada has abandoned plans to experiment with an online voting pilot project before the 2015 general election due to budget cuts. Elections Canada also has concerns about the security of online voting, but a new report indicates that voting irregularities happen frequently at polling stations on voting day even when paper ballots are used. A spokesperson for Elections Canada said Tuesday that experiments with online voting are postponed “for the long term,” and the reasons for the delay are due to an eight per cent budget cut that took effect this year, translating into a loss of $7.5 million per year. A plan to try out online voting in a federal byelection sometime before 2015 has been quashed.
During the last general election in 2011, Mark Mayrand, the chief electoral officer of Elections Canada, told CBC that online voting is “the way of the future”. The plan was to eventually incorporate internet balloting into general elections, although Mayrand estimated that voting by laptop or smart phone as a permanent feature was at least “three general elections away.”
In August 2011, Mayrand told a parliamentary committee, “Elections Canada has been examining internet voting as a complementary and convenient way to cast a ballot. The chief electoral officer is committed to seeking approval for a test of Internet voting in a byelection held after 2013.”
However, in a recent report to parliament, Mayrand said, “Elections Canada is scaling back its efforts on internet voting and will delay conducting an I-voting pilot project until after the next general election.”