Vote at The Municipal Office

October 9:
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

October 10 to 21 (Monday to Friday):
8:30 am to 4:00 pm

October 22, Election Day:
10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Why internet/telephone voting?

To further modernize municipal elections, the Clerks in the Hastings County Clerks and Treasurers Association made the recommendation for internet/telephone voting systems for use in the 2018 Municipal Election.  

An internet/telephone voting solution would provide:

  1. Convenient and accessible voting

  2. Fast and accurate election results

  3. Utilizing the latest technological and security advances ensuring confidence in the integrity of the voting process

Internet/telephone voting background:

  • The method has been used in Ontario for more than 10 years

  • 97 Municipalities in Ontario utilized internet voting during the 2014 municipal election

  • Users of online voting identified that they found the method to be easy, simple, straight forward, convenient and private  

    • Ninety-Five percent of respondents to the survey identified that they were satisfied with the online voting process


Internet/telephone voting benefits

Accessibility

One of the primary benefits of internet voting is increased accessibility.  Advocates allege that internet voting is the only method that allows for some voters with disabilities to completely mark a ballot, in private, without the assistance of a designated friend or Election Official.

Internet/telephone voting addresses most accessibility issues since people can vote from anywhere.  Many people with accessibility issues have, where necessary, already made accommodation to be able to use the internet.  Internet voting also has measures to warn the voter of any over-votes or blank offices making it more difficult for an elector to spoil his/her ballot.  

Any internet/telephone voting solution selected would need to fully comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  The amended MEA requires municipal clerks to prepare accessibility plans to identify, remove and prevent barriers that could affect electors and candidates with disabilities, and make the plan available to the public prior to voting day.

The vendors can also provide instruction videos that can be posted on the municipal websites and shared through social media to assist voters.  Some vendors can also provide Help Centres, if desired, to help walk any electors through the process that are having trouble.

Security

As previously stated, an eligible elector on the voters list receives a Voter Information Letter in the mail.  The voter information letter will include a PIN, and another unique voter identification information (i.e. voter ID number) that the voter will use to access a website and vote.  The voter may also be requested to enter their birth date or other information as an additional security step, as determined by the municipality. Only electors on the voters list receive credentials in the mail which will be sued to vote online or by telephone.  As with past practices electors must complete a form and/or provide ID to be added to the voters list.

Internet voting vendors can provide a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT), which is an independent verification system designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.  Municipalities can choose and customize the extent of the VVAT.

Any internet voting system being considered must be directly consistent with the principles guiding municipal elections, as contained in the MEA, as follows:

  • The secrecy and confidentiality of the individual is paramount.

  • The election should be fair and non-biased.

  • The election should be accessible to the voters.

  • The integrity of the process should be maintained throughout the election.

  • There be certainty that the results of the election reflect the votes cast.

  • Voters and candidates should be treated fairly and consistently within a municipality.

Some disadvantages of internet/telephone voting are the voter’s perception of security and if their personal information will be kept confidential and secure from hackers.  The Service providers continue to establish measures to decrease and mitigate security risks, including banking-level encryption. These same security questions occur with vote by mail.  

Financial Implications

The cost for vote by mail method for the 2014 Election was approximately 3.00 per vote, plus Canada Post costs for mailing the kit AND returning the kit. In addition, $1100 was spent on extra staff on Election Day plus lieu time for full-time staff members. Staff are unable to quantify the hours spent by staff on ballot-related activities, but it was substantial in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Cost for Internet/telephone voting is estimated to be less.  Cost is approximately $2.00 per vote, plus Canada Post costs to mail out the vote packages. There will be savings incurred here as there are no return-postage costs as there are with Vote By Mail.  As the municipality and voters become more familiar with internet voting, there is potential for further cost reductions and efficiencies utilizing internet/telephone voting in subsequent elections.