The province should test online voting with a pilot project during a byelection down the road, Elections Ontario recommends.
In a two-part, 271-page report to the legislature tabled Monday, Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa said it’s time to embrace technological changes in order to encourage more people to vote. … But there are security and technological challenges to online or telephone voting, he concluded after looking at experiences in Australia, Estonia, the U.S., the United Kingdom and various Canadian municipalities. These include “identifying the need to overcome capacity challenges by building and supporting the infrastructure required to manage a system for the entire province” and understanding that there will be “significant costs associated with pilots and integrating network voting into a general election (more than $2 million per use of the system).”
As well, there is “the need for a two-step authentication process, given the lack of a government-issued ID card or digital authentication certificate.”
… “There is not yet a network voting solution that meets our criteria (so) we will continue to evaluate systems and approaches so that when it is warranted, we are prepared to recommend methods to modernize the voting process.”
Despite the need for change, Essensa noted the city of Edmonton’s examination of online voting found there is “no conclusive evidence that shows introducing internet voting will have a positive impact on turnout . . . internet voting will not fix the problem of voter turnout decline completely.”