No More Paper Ballots: Council Confirms Telephone and Internet Voting for the 2018 Municipal Election

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At their October 18th meeting, Council passed a by-law confirming that in the next municipal election, votes may only be cast on the telephone or the internet, a process that will be managed by Simply Voting Inc., who coordinated the 2014 election. There will be no paper ballot alternative.

The previous Council authorized the use of telephone and internet voting for the 2014 election. In that race, 47.2% of the 7450 eligible electors in the Township of Cavan Monaghan cast their ballots using the new process. This compares favourably to the participation in each of the four previous Municipal Elections in the township. In the 2010 election where papers ballots were used, voter turnout was approximately 43%. Of the 3517 voters who participated in the 2014 election, approximately 73% used the internet, 18% used the telephone and 9% used the kiosks to cast their votes.

Based on the participation rates as well as voter feedback, staff believes the majority of residents are comfortable with the voting process provided by these alternative voting options. Many voters appreciated the convenience of voting from home instead of lining up at a polling station, and the process was very quick. Our township was the first of the eight Peterborough County municipalities to adopt this technology, and the process allowed them to be first to report election results, which occurred at 8.24 pm on Election Day. In addition to being efficient, the alternative voting process was completed below budget and at a cost that was lower than the projected cost had it been conducted using the traditional ballot method.

In the face of these results, Council confirmed that the 2018 Municipal Election will be conducted in a similar manner. Given the voter kiosks have already been purchased, staff projections indicate the 2018 race will cost slightly less than the previous election, with a bill estimated at $27,900. Given these results, expect other municipalities to follow suit. KG

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