City council voted unanimously Monday not to use online voting in next year’s municipal election. Council heard from the community in presentations and correspondence on the issue. Urs Hengartner, associate professor of computer science at the University of Waterloo, studies secure voting systems. In a letter to council, he expressed concern about the security of an online voting system. “Internet voting introduces even more risks, such as computer viruses, denial-of-service attacks, or vote buying or selling,” he said. “On the other hand, the claimed advantage of internet voting, higher voter turnout, still needs to be proven in practice, and results so far have been mixed.”
Others spoke their support. “Waterloo Region Barnraisers’ Council support electronic voting for a variety of reasons related to technology, social issues, and election administration,” the group said in a letter. “We would like to see municipalities within Waterloo Region take a leadership position in the introduction of these important evolutionary electoral processes.”
According to a staff report, research from Burlington, Markham, Peterborough and Stratford shows no link between online voting and turnout. In Burlington, about two per cent of eligible voters used the internet. Between 4.5 and 6.5 per cent voted online in Markham between 2003 and 2010.
Voter turnout varied. In Peterborough, between 6.6 and 7.2 per cent voted online in the 2006 and 2010 elections. The majority of online voters were between the ages of 45 and 65, and staff said there was little change in student turnout.
Source: Waterloo rejects online voting.