Online voting gets tepid thumbs up at UBCM

Call for modernization for 2018 elections narrowly passes amid fears over e-voting privacy, manipulation

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

B.C. municipal leaders voted by a slim margin Wednesday to urge the province to enable online voting in time for the 2018 local elections.

The resolution from Osoyoos was passed by 51 per cent of delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in an electronic vote after it had initially been declared defeated in a show of hands.

Advocates say the convenience of online voting could boost the dismal turnout of municipal elections and engage many more young people.

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer said no municipality would be forced to adopt online voting, the aim is merely to make it an available option for communities and individuals that want it.

But Saanich Coun. Vic Derman warned there’s no way to guarantee an online voter is casting their ballot in privacy, without someone else directing or manipulating them, possibly buying their vote.

“It does affect one’s privacy of vote that should take place behind a screen at a ballot box,” said Lorne Lewis, a Sunshine Coast Regional District director. He said it’s wrong “to put people in a situation where they can be badgered about their vote.”

The close vote suggests the issue is having increasing trouble gaining traction.

A similar UBCM motion in 2011 passed by a two-to-one margin.

Since then, an independent panel struck by the provincial government concluded last year that the risks outweigh the benefits, and recommended that any move to online voting be limited to voters with specific accessibility challenges.

That report by B.C.’s chief electoral officer also found no evidence of a significant increase in voter turnout in other jurisdictions that have adopted online voting.

Reimer isn’t concerned about the close vote and said online voting for B.C. mayors and councils is inevitable.

“The only question is when and how far behind other jurisdictions we’ll be when we get to that point.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Mandatory alcohol screening

If you have to drive, don’t drink. If you drink, don’t drive.

Mary Lowther column: Time to plan the winter garden

Weeds have gotten away on me, I’ve just finished laying out my soaker hoses

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Sarah Simpson Column: Finding nature at home

It was time to call in reinforcements.

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Cowichan Lake

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read