Orangeville council nixes Internet and phone voting in 2018

March 10, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Orangeville Council has shot down the idea of moving to a more modernized polling system in the 2018 municipal election, despite several calls from the public for them to do so.

The issue was raised once again during Question Period at Monday night’s Town Council meeting, with local resident Trevor Castiglione calling on the municipality to do some “serious research” regarding Internet voting ahead of the next election.

“Many municipalities are switching to this (to improve) accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities. Voter turnout itself has increased almost by double (for communities that have implemented internet voting), check the Elections Canada website, it’s all there,” Mr. Castiglione said. “I think it’s something we should seriously consider given our voter turnout is so atrociously low. This could drastically increase it.”

Mono Council has already approved providing the option of voting by Internet or phone, although final details have yet to be worked out.

In the 2014 municipal election,  only 7,544 of 19,197 eligible Orangeville voters traveled to one of the several polling stations spread across town to cast their vote – enough for a lowly 39.3 percent voter turnout.

Councillor Don Kidd asked that council consider including both Internet and phone voting along with the traditional paper ballots for its next election, although Town clerk Susan Greatrix indicated there wouldn’t be a need for all three.

“When you have Internet voting, phone voting becomes redundant,” Ms. Greatrix said. “If council wanted to implement Internet voting, we could set up different stations around town for those that don’t have Internet access at home. Phone voting is a lengthy process.”

Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock wasn’t interested in changing Orangeville’s voting system, instead making a motion that the municipality move forward with the usual paper ballot and nothing else in 2018. The motion was seconded by Coun. Scott Wilson and passed unanimously, although Mayor Jeremy Williams said he would have voted in favour of Internet voting if there was sufficient interest amongst council.

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