While Huntsville council tackles election topics such as ward boundaries, some residents believe the issue of electronic voting should be the primary concern. Grant Hallman, a retired resident who spent a career in software development, has said council’s decision to discuss in 2013 whether electronic voting or traditional paper ballots will be used in the 2014 municipal election will not give the municipality enough time for thorough debate. Hallman said it will likely not give the municipality enough time to switch back to paper ballots if council decides it does not want to use the telephone and Internet voting method used in the previous municipal election. There are several concerns Hallman and others have with the electronic voting method.
These community members were hoping Huntsville would lead the pack in rejecting electronic voting here as an unsafe voting method. Germany has already ruled electronic voting is unconstitutional there. But now Elections Canada is considering an Internet voting pilot project that could be unveiled as early as the 2015 federal election.
In a letter to the chief electoral officer of Canada, Hallman laid out his concerns with online voting. Many are the same concerns he had with Huntsville’s voting method. The concerns include the loss of ballot verifiability and the ability to recount the ballots, the possibility of electronic tampering, loss of privacy when voting, lack of oversight by scrutineers and returning officers, loss of transparency, vote tracking through the use of personal identification numbers, vote buying, multiple votes, and software system bugs. Hallman argued that while commercial software suppliers who run electronic voting systems go to great lengths to guarantee the security of their systems, they cannot know if their systems have been compromised. And such a method intrinsically requires the use of unsecured computers by the voter, he said.