Online voting no quick fix for turnout

Even if technical issues can be solved for all computers and phones, Internet voting doesn't attract more young people

Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer

VICTORIA – B.C. isn’t ready to consider a wholesale shift to Internet-base voting in either local or provincial elections, according to a new report from Elections B.C.

Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer released the report Wednesday, warning that even if a host of technical and security issues can be resolved, there is no consistent evidence that voter turnout would be increased.

Archer asked the B.C. government in 2011 for authority to conduct pilot projects for electronic voting. The government appointed him to chair an expert panel last year, and its preliminary findings are not encouraging.

While there are likely benefits for voters with disabilities or in remote locations, the report concludes that governments should not expect either lower costs or greater participation from voter access via computers and mobile devices.

Despite the widespread use of new technology by young people, a survey of other results showed middle-aged and older people more likely to use online voting.

The committee recommends that online voting be considered first as an option for people with access restrictions, such as those who vote by mail. It says universal voting should only be be attempted on a province-wide basis for consistency, security and ability to audit results.

No provincial or federal voting has been conducted online in Canada, but municipalities including Halifax and Markham, Ontario have tried it, as well as some U.S. and European jurisdictions.

Archer said online voting has unique challenges, such as the need to verify a person’s identity and then keep that separate from their voting choice. Another issue is how to verify security of a range of computers, tablets and mobile phones that could be subject to software tampering.

“It’s not like banking online, it’s not like dating online, it’s not like making a purchase online,” he said.

The panel has posted its preliminary report here and is seeking public comments until Dec. 4. It plans to make recommendations to the government on the next steps in February.

 

Just Posted

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Complex-care facility adds 60 long-term care beds

Mount Ida Mews hosts grand opening of second phase in Salmon Arm

UPDATE: One dead after crash on Highway 97A near Armstrong

Police have confirmed that one person is dead following an accident on Highway 97A Friday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Rescued Kelowna skier shares appreciation of COSAR team

A skier was found out of bounds near Big White by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Most Read