It turns out Airdronians won’t be able to vote online in this year’s municipal election. On Monday, Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths sent word that Internet voting for municipal elections would not be held in Alberta. At least for now. Mayor Peter Brown was notified by Griffiths’ office Monday night that they were pulling the plug on the possibility of allowing municipalities like Airdrie to offer online voting in the 2013 municipal elections. Airdrie city council recently voted to use online voting if it was an option this year. Larger municipalities and their councils, like Edmonton and St. Albert, had scrapped plans to offer Internet voting overwhelmingly, citing high costs and possible fraudulent activity as key concerns during trial runs. “Since we don’t have proven technology yet and there isn’t confidence in the system, we won’t be proceeding,” Griffiths said in an interview with the Echo. “(Voting) is the most important franchise right that any citizen has and you have to make sure it’s never abused.”
Griffiths said the potential for misuse and abuse with Internet voting hasn’t been adequately addressed yet, especially since fraudulent activity online could have a drastic impact on an election. “It could alter the results of the election and render them invalid,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we get it right.
At the March 4 Airdrie City Council meeting, a representative from Scytl, the company that was going to provide the online voting service, was on hand to answer questions from councillors.
According to Mark Pivon from Scytl, Edmonton and St. Albert based their decisions on “emotional reasons” and “erroneous information on the Internet,” as well as the cost after one municipality dropped out.