Vancouver, one of the first municipalities in Canada to bring in electronic ballot-counting machines, is moving into the next generation of digital democracy: online voting.
On Tuesday city council approved in principle a pilot project to allow online voters to cast ballots in the advance polls for the Nov. 19 civic election.In a 10-1 vote, council said the benefits — increased voter turnout, elimination of lineups and less costly elections — far outweigh some of the potential downsides, including the potential for stolen voter packages, technical difficulties and hacking attacks and difficulty in identifying voter identification.
“I totally appreciate for some that voting online is a totally, totally strange thing to do,” said Coun. Andrea Reimer, who wants to see more of the city’s business done online.”To my mind there are risks to online voting but there are also risks to have so few people voting. It isn’t about forcing anyone to vote online but to give people choices.”
Non-Partisan Association Coun. Suzanne Anton opposed the plan, saying she wanted more public consultation and she worries about the potential for fraud. Her motion to refer it back to staff was defeated.