Waterloo council will stick with tradition and use paper ballots and the first-past-the-post system for the 2018 municipal election. Politicians voted Monday not to pursue online voting or use ranked ballots. “Voting shouldn’t necessarily be that simple,” Coun. Brian Bourke said. “It shouldn’t just be the click of a button.” Region of Waterloo Coun. Jane Mitchell appealed against Internet voting, citing concerns about confidentiality. “The secret ballot will always be a problem,” she said. She said polling locations are the most reliable way to keep ballots secret, the “old school” way. Resident Dave Shuffling said he has about eight years of experience in the computer security industry. He outlined a long list of possible threats to the integrity of online voting and asked council not to proceed with online voting. “Security is really difficult to get right,” Shuffling said. A previous council voted against using online voting to conduct the last municipal election but staff told council in January they wanted to have another look at the idea.
Scott Witmer was a councillor at the time and spoke Monday. “It’s pretty hard under our system to force someone to vote for someone they don’t want to … our system also ensures that no one is able to vote more than once,” he said. “Under an electronic system, there is that risk.”
In 2013, when council rejected online voting, a staff report showed few benefits to the move.
The staff report at the time said research from Burlington, Markham, Peterborough and Stratford showed no link between online voting and turnout.