Vancouver voters can expect to line up the old-fashioned way this November, after the provincial government, citing “a number of serious risks,” nixed a plan to allow online voting in upcoming municipal elections.
Ida Chong, minister of community, sport and cultural development, said in a letter sent to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and obtained by The Province, that the provincial government was supportive of the initiative, but election legislation must be changed before municipalities can permit Internet voting.
Chong’s letter followed one she received from B.C.’s acting chief electoral officer Craig James on May 17, in which he praised the possibilities of online voting but said in the end he would “strongly caution its use presently.
“There are potential benefits to Internet voting namely convenience to voters, and accessibility for voters with disabilities or limited mobility,” James said in the letter. But online voting technology cannot guard against hackers, service disruptions or vote buying and selling, James said.
As well, B.C.’s chief information officer is still developing a way to confirm a voter’s identity and then make their vote anonymous. “[The voting process] is unlike online banking where the user’s identity is maintained throughout the transaction,” James said in his letter.
James also worried about the transparency of online voting. With physical ballots, observers don’t need specialized knowledge or qualifications to ensure votes are properly cast and counted, but the technology of online voting inevitably turns the process into a “black box,” which could undermine public confidence James said.
Full Article: Internet voting nixed for November municipal elections.