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.
McArdle works out of eSentire’s headquarters on Pinebush Road. The company, which employs more than 250 people in Cambridge and 50 in offices in New York City and Ireland, protects more than 600 clients around the world from hackers and malware.
Paper ballots are better than virtual ones, said McArdle.
“I think the paper system, while anachronistic — it has flaws of its own — at the end of the day you have a paper ballot, you can count them again, you can count them a third time,” he said.