There will be no internet voting during the 2014 municipal elections here after city councillors received a report Monday that is critical of nearly every aspect of digital ballots. Randy Gosse, Kitchener’s director of legislated services, told city councillors the time will come when voters will use nothing but smart phones and computers to vote, but that time is definitely not now. “I think there are issues that need to be addressed before you get there,” Gosse said.
After 18 months of study, Gosse told councillors internet voting does not increase participation in elections, but increases costs, reduces transparency and leaves the single-most sacred part of the democratic process — casting ballots — vulnerable to fraud and coercion.
For internet voting to work, a database must be compiled with the names of every elector in the city. Each one must be mailed a document with their name, date of birth and a personal-identification number. Building this database is expensive and the main reason internet voting would double the cost of municipal elections in Kitchener to $800,000, up from $400,000.
“This is not a cheap solution,” Gosse said.
He studied the experience in several cities, and the practice is still rare 22 years after the rise of the internet in Canada.
A major problem occurs when a single member of a family collects the election documents and votes on everyone’s behalf. Another challenge is how recounts are done. There are no paper ballots.
“The risks involved, at this point in time, I don’t think warrant us doing that,” Gosse said.
The results of the study clearly disappointed city councillors, who called for the review in a bid to increase participation in local elections. Turnout during the 2010 Kitchener elections was less than 25 per cent of eligible voters.
The higher costs and insecure computer systems put off Mayor Carl Zehr.
Full Article: Kitchener rejects internet voting | therecord.