Waterloo council rejects Internet voting for 2018 ( again why is Cambridge insisting on it?)

By  | February 17, 2017 | 5 Comments | Filed under: uncategorized

Waterloo council rejects Internet voting for 2018

Pencil and paper ballot

Metro Creative

Waterloo Chronicle

Just like sliced bread, a pencil on a ballot works as well today as it ever has.

That’s what delegate and former councillor Scott Witmer said to councillors on Monday night as they looked at new voting procedures for the 2018 municipal election.

They ended up voting to not introduce Internet ballots into the 2018 municipal election and instead chose to stick with the conventional, in-person, way of doing things.

Delegates said when it comes to voting online, there’s a number of problems.

For regional Coun. Jane Mitchell, ensuring one person has only one vote, and ballots are kept secret are paramount to democratic elections. Her presentation began with a picture of President-elect Donald Trump sneaking a peek at his wife Melania Trump’s ballot as they cast their vote during the United States presidential election.

“This picture really says what’s going to happen with Internet voting — someone peeking over your shoulder and telling you how to vote,” Mitchell said. “All family members could be told how to vote. Employers could gather staff members and tell them to vote a certain way. Elections could be sold. The only way to prevent abuse is to have people vote privately in the booth.”

In the 2014 election, Cambridge introduced telephone and Internet voting, but it didn’t translate into a higher voter turnout.

“Voting shouldn’t be that simple, a click of the button,” said Coun. Brian Bourke. “My concern is why are people voting and what are they voting for? Is it because it’s simple and easy? I don’t think that’s the right reason to change the system.

“We need to worry about why people don’t vote, before we fix how they do.”

Another delegate, Dave Shuffling, has worked in the computer security industry for close to a decade and warned council of the dangers of online voting.

“How much fraud are you willing to tolerate this next election?” he asked, adding power outages and security breaches could compromise the results.

Mayor Dave Jaworksy said the potential of online voting is to bring democracy right to the homes of people with accessibility challenges, including seniors.

While he recognized the security of the pencil and paper model, he voted against the recommendation to hold off on the  online system.

The rest of council voted in favour of keeping things the same for the 2018 election and waiting to see if any other municipalities make the jump, or if Elections Ontario and Elections Canada develop their own sets of standards.

First-past-the-post for 2018 election

Council also voted to keep the first-past-the-post election process over ranked ballots.

Right now, voters choose the candidate they want to win. When using ranked ballots, voters rank the list of candidates in order of preference. The person who gets more than 50 per cent of votes wins the election.

Critics of first-past-the-post say it results in false majorities and half of voters being underrepresented.

As an alternative, ranked ballots result in candidates winning seats proportional to votes and provides representation for most voters.

City staff recommended council keep first-past-the-post and for the clerk to see if any other municipalities use ranked ballot elections in the 2018 election.

Clerk Olga Smith said ranked ballots are a difficult way to reach a winner and election equipment vendors have little to no experience servicing such an election.

Coun. Diane Freeman said ranked ballots make more sense in provincial and federal elections when voters want to change the representation of the house.

“The ranked ballot for municipal elections starts to become ridiculously confusing because we don’t have partisan politics,” Freeman said. “I don’t think it’s a good fit (for Waterloo).”

Coun. Mark Whaley described a ranked ballot election as “taking the democratic process into the dark ages.

“We’ve had the first-past-the-post system for the past 149 years for a reason. People understand it and it is working for us.”




5 Responses to Waterloo council rejects Internet voting for 2018 ( again why is Cambridge insisting on it?)

  1. mjqsmith@bell.net'
    Maggie Smith February 17, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Well good for Waterloo – at least they are using some common sense. As to Ranked voting being difficult – I don’t think so. If it takes some training for work with it – well lets do it.
    As far as Cambridge – well we know why it was turned down – Craig is afraid he won’t get in again as 2010 & 2014 were not honest elections.
    At least the word is getting around and maybe if more people hear about it they’ll push for it.
    But I prefer paper to Online – Online is so apt to get hacked into. Paper or Ranked – definitely not Online. If people are too lazy to get out & vote – well then they should not complain re outcome or being stuck with a Mayor like Craig.

  2. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Tom Vann February 20, 2017 at 7:18 am

    How does one spell fixed in Cambridge? I see 2 ex council people running in 2018.

  3. mjqsmith@bell.net'
    Maggie Smith February 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    We need fresh blood period! Get rid of Craig’s 4 or 5 puppets and it might be a great working Council.
    As it stands – hopeless and the Meeting Feb.21st will be sad – can feel it in my bones. Poor Mike has given our idiot Mayor ammunition to run with. Too bad.
    Hope there is good support out for Mike Tues. – he admits he did wrong but at least he wasn’t a drunken driver like Wolf – who could have killed someone. Al Mike did was – actually sounded like a compliment to some old lady – who took it the wrong way. Too bad – words can hurt but drunks behind a steering wheel kills……..

  4. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Tom Vann February 21, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Women say things to me constantly. It’s a good thing I never kept track of all the women that asked me to marry them. I have gotten used to being hit on by all ages of gals, even with Lucy present. I even had a strange guy ask me if I was married. It’s a curse, having good looks and charm. I have even tried dressing poorly. There are women that would kill to get a hold of me but I soldier, on and have given Lucy the best years of my life. I have wondered more than once what life would have been like if I had married Pam, Deb or Donna. Mirror.. mirror on the wall …….

  5. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Paula Sentril March 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I believe like most. It can be rigged.

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