Council approves involvement in Internet voting pilot project

 

Feb 07, 2013 03:13 pm | By Dawn Smith | Airdrie City View

Airdrie voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots electronically in this year’s municipal election, Oct. 21.

City council made the decision to include Internet voting in the City’s election, Feb. 4.

Council first discussed the topic at its Jan. 21 meeting and the majority of the group spoke against Internet voting at that time.

“I got quite a lot of feedback since our last meeting,” said Alderman Kelly Hegg. “(I was told) if we didn’t go for it, we are crazy.”

Sharon Pollyck, Airdrie’s manager of legislative services, presented council with a number of options for electronic voting on Jan. 21.

Pollyck also told council Internet voting is used worldwide, saying the procedure has a number of benefits including ease of voting and future savings should the City decide to go paperless.

As recommended by City staff, Airdrie will be piggybacking on an Internet voting pilot project being conducted by Edmonton, Strathcona County and St. Albert.

Voters will cast their ballot online with the use of a special identification and PIN (personal identification number) number, and personal information will not be traceable to the online ballot once it is submitted. Voters will also receive confirmation of their vote through an electronic receipt.

In order to take part in the vote, Airdronians will have to register with the City in person or through email prior to election day.

Personal identification, the type of which has not yet been determined, will be required to register.

The vote, which will cost about $29,000, will be done alongside the City’s paper election procedures, something several aldermen expressed support for.

In the 2010 election, Airdrie’s voting station costs were about $22,000. For 2013, this number is budgeted at $36,000, according to a staff report. The total cost of this year’s municipal election is projected to be $42,500.

“I like the fact of running them in tandem this time,” said Alderman Fred Burley during the discussion.

“It’s the way it’s going, I will be supporting it.”

Alderman Allan Hunter said after speaking to several young residents, he was in favour of Internet voting.

“I like the fact you said it was just another option,” he said to Pollyck.

“This would be a venue to get more voters if the issues are substantial.”

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