ONLINE AND TELEPHONE VOTING: DEMOCRATIC EFFICIENCY OR PRIVACY RISK?
Last July Lambton Shores Council passed a by-law that approved a municipal voting contract between the municipality and Intelivote Systems Inc. permitting Intelivote, a private contractor, to administer an online and telephone voting process for the upcoming fall municipal election. Intelivote Systems Inc. is based out of Nova Scotia and is not without its share of controversy; the most recent being that it is now apparently operating in some form of partnership arrangement with SCYTL, a company based in Barcelona, Spain. Since the municipal by-law was signed we can find no Council agenda item which brought this new arrangement to the attention of Lambton Shores Council? Why? How will the information of private Canadian citizens be secured by a company that is partnered with a foreign service? Is the Municipal Voting Contract still valid?
Your right to vote is your franchise to ensure legitimate and democratically elected governments at all levels. Electronic voting is considered to be risky by many people who support integrity in the election process. Can the service contractor for online and telephone voting methods guarantee completely that the electronic voting process will be free of hacker and malware interference? The answer is no. We only have to look to the 2016 general election in the United States to see the havoc that resulted from Russian hacking efforts and the damage that it has inflicted on the American political system.
In Canada, online elections are held at the municipal level throughout Ontario and Nova Scotia. Its use is growing, but how can it ensure private information security when we know that the Internet is not secure? Is that the reason why Federal and Provincial government elections continue to use paper ballots?
Secret ballots in elections continue to be the proven method for ensuring integrity in elections and therefore the continuance of a democratic society. OWCLA has obtained a copy of the municipal voting contract. We are apprehensive about specific content of that contract and will be sending a list of questions and concerns for Council’s consideration at their July 24, 2018 meeting. Election integrity is the core of democracy. OWCLA is taking this situation very seriously and will ensure that its voice is heard …..