Strathcona County council is expected to decide Tuesday if the municipality will proceed with an Internet voting pilot project that could see online ballots cast as part of October’s civic election. It’s the last chance for Internet voting in the capital region, after St. Albert and Edmonton city councils defeated proposals for Internet voting last month. Edmonton city staff tested a proposed online voting system for more than a year, including a mock “jelly bean election” and the verdict of a citizen jury. A report recommended Edmonton allow Internet voting for advance and special ballots in October’s civic election, but councillors worried the process wasn’t entirely secure and defeated the proposal Feb. 6. St. Albert councillors voted to stop work on the project two weeks later.
“The proposal itself was put forward as a regional partnership between Edmonton, Strathcona and St. Albert, so with Edmonton’s withdrawal it certainly changed the nature of the partnership,” said Chris Belke, St. Albert’s chief legislative officer.
… If approved by council, the next step would be to ask the minister of municipal affairs to allow online ballots for the 2013 civic election, Gariepy said. “We’re going to say, ‘let’s do it, let’s tell the province we’re willing’ and all they have to do is sign the paper,” he said.
But Coun. Peter Wlodarczak isn’t sure the process will be quite that simple, as the move to online voting requires changes to the Local Authorities Election Act.
“The issue hanging over us is whether the law allows it or not,” he said. “It was a pilot between three communities and the two major ones dropped out, so that leaves us alone.”
Coun. Linton Delainey does not want to see Strathcona County move forward with Internet voting. “I will never, ever accept Internet voting. I don’t trust the Internet,” he said. “I think there’s the possibility of too many problems with security, and I think people still need to take the time to think hard and go down to their polling stations and vote.”