Voters and election administrators were satisfied with online ballots in many of last fall’s Ontario municipal races, according to a new study, but the digital shift’s impact on declining turnout appears to be modest. Ninety-seven municipalities across Ontario used online voting in October, most for the first time, in addition to traditional in-person voting and mail-in ballot options. Half of the municipalities participated in a study by the Internet Voting Project, which surveyed voters, candidates and election administrators. Preliminary results of the study are being released in a webinar Thursday afternoon.
… Stephen O’Brien, Guelph’s city clerk, said he believes Internet voting played some role in that increase, though it was likely small. “The reality is that Internet voting is not the panacea to increasing voter turnout,” he said.
Instead, big local issues and high-profile races – like Guelph’s, in which the incumbent was challenged by a sitting councillor – likely did more to motivate voters who would otherwise stay home, Mr. O’Brien said.