Online voting is not a secure way for electors to choose a new government, says the chief technology officer of a Cambridge-based cybersecurity firm eSentire. “As a technologist and someone who is very concerned about the integrity of our elections, I would not be a fan or supportive of any electronic voting system,” said Mark McArdle. Online voting is expected to be used by 150 to 200 Ontario municipalities in the next round of municipal elections in October 2018. One of those cities will be Cambridge, which allowed online voting and telephone voting for a two-week advance voting period in 2014. In the next election in 2018, Cambridge will expand early voting to three weeks, and allow internet and telephone voting on election day.
Articles about voting issues in Canada.
In an alternate universe, Justin Trudeau wasn’t standing before the cameras on Tuesday, trying again to explain why he had walked away from a campaign commitment to pursue electoral reform. Because during June 2015 in that alternate universe, Trudeau had stood before the cameras and vowed that a Liberal government would implement a ranked ballot for electing MPs. Alas, in reality, Trudeau made an open-ended commitment to reform and vowed it would be in place for 2019. A committee was struck to study the issue, dozens of town hall forums were convened, an online survey was conducted and postcards were mailed to millions of households inviting Canadians to participate. Only then did Trudeau’s government walk away. But only then did Trudeau publicly confront the actual possibilities for reform. And, as it turns out, his preference for a ranked ballot and his opposition to proportional representation, first stated in 2012, were left standing.
Canada: Taxpayers spent more than $600K for Electoral Reform Committee report Liberals dismissed | The Hill Times
Parliamentarians spent more than $600,000 and 200-plus hours compiling a 333-page report recommending major changes to the country’s voting system that was largely rejected by the Trudeau government within hours of its release, new House of Commons statistics show. The Special Committee on Electoral Reform, convened by the House to study and consult on prospective changes to the federal election process, posted the largest tab of any House committee over the course of 2016-17, according to spending figures released last week by the House Liaison Committee, which determines committee budgets. The all-party Electoral Reform Committee spent $477,910 travelling across the country to hear directly from Canadians, with another $125,839 charged for the work of Library of Parliament research assistants and the committee’s operational budget, which includes working meals, reports, and professional services.
Canada: Despite risk of cyber attacks, political parties still handle Canadians’ data with no rules in place | Toronto Star
Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says it’s not the time to implement basic privacy and security rules for political parties’ collection of Canadians’ personal data, despite warning that those parties are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Speaking with the Star on Friday, Gould said she decided on a voluntary approach for parties to meet and discuss vulnerabilities with the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spying and cyber defence agency. “I think it’s important that we respect the independence of political parties, and we ensure that they are able to make those decisions (around cyber security),” Gould said in an interview.
Canada: Cyber threats against Canadian democratic processes will increase, warns spy agency | IT World Canada
Canada’s electronic spy agency has warned the country’s political parties, candidates and news media that it is “highly probable” the increasing cyber threat activity against democratic processes around the world will be seen here. In a report issued Friday the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which looks after protecting federal networks, said specifically it expects “that multiple hacktivist groups” will very likely deploy cyber capabilities in an attempt to influence the democratic process — including disrupting political parties, candidates and the media — during the 2019 Canadian federal election. “We anticipate that much of this activity will be low-sophistication, though we expect that some influence activities will be well-planned and target more than one aspect of the democratic process.” For example, it notes that in 2015 the hactivist group Anonymous leaked reports about the redevelopment of Canada’s key diplomatic centres in Britain.
Canada: Cyberthreat to Canadian elections increasing amid lingering concerns about Russia, spy agency warns | National Post
Canada’s electronic spy agency says the threat of cyberattacks on the country’s electoral process is increasing and steps must be taken to counter it. The warning is contained in a new report released Friday by the Communications Security Establishment amid lingering questions and concerns about the role Russia may have played in the last U.S. presidential election. The agency says so-called “hacktivists” and cybercriminals did launch low-level attacks during Canada’s last election in 2015, but those attacks had no discernible impact. At the same time, there were no indications that foreign countries tried to influence the election through cyberattacks or other online methods.
Disenfranchised expat Canadians are questioning whether the Liberal government is deliberately allowing legislation aimed at restoring their voting rights to wither on the vine. The concern comes as the country’s top court set a new date for hearing their constitutional battle against provisions that strip Canadians abroad for more than five years from voting in federal elections. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed just ahead of a scheduled hearing in February to a government request for an adjournment given the introduction of Bill C-33 in late November.
The Liberal government should toughen up Canada’s election law to better protect the voting process from foreign influence — and money — in time for the 2019 campaign, senators argue in a new report. “The (Canada Elections Act) does not sufficiently protect Canadian elections from improper foreign interference,” said a report released Thursday by the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs. “The existing regime that regulates third-party advertising requires modernization in order to better ensure transparency and electoral fairness.” There have been growing concerns about foreign influence in the electoral process, especially after the French and U.S. elections and the investigation into alleged Russian interference to help ensure the victory of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Former Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary is calling on the federal party to recount the digital imprints of its ballots so that newly elected Leader Andrew Scheer doesn’t start his job with a “cloud” hanging over his head. Mr. O’Leary, who dropped out of the leadership race in April and endorsed then-front-runner Maxime Bernier, told The Globe and Mail that he sees “no reason why a recount shouldn’t occur.” “As a member and a former candidate, I would prefer that a recount be done because I think it clears a cloud that is obviously brewing at this point,” Mr. O’Leary said in an interview. … Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann, however, said there will be no review. “The rules clearly state that once the vote is verified by the Chief Returning Officer and by the independent auditor, they are final and binding,” he said in an e-mail.
A small group of election officials from across Canada who observed a ground-breaking plebiscite vote on P.E.I. has concluded online and telephone voting should be considered only under limited circumstances in Canada in the foreseeable future, given the risks involved. P.E.I.’s plebiscite on electoral reform, held over a 10-day period in October and November 2016, allowed voters to participate by voting online, by telephone, or with a traditional paper ballot. It was the first time in Canada online voting was included as an option in a province-wide election. More than 80 per cent of Island voters who participated voted online. An audit team made up of election officials from across the country was assembled to observe the vote. That team concluded that, while online voting was secure enough for a non-binding plebiscite in Canada’s smallest province, “a perfectly secure and fool-proof electronic voting system does not yet exist.” Because of the “major risks” associated, the audit team concluded online and telephone voting for federal and provincial elections in Canada “should be limited to use only by absentee voters for the immediate foreseeable future.”