Time to bring in online voting

We have had the internet for more than three decades


Time to bring in online voting

Over the past 40 years I have scrutineered and helped run many federal and provincial voting processes. At every election I am always dismayed to witness election officials hiring so many people to do such simple tasks and the silly hoops they usually force voters to go through to exercise their democratic right.

The public has shown overwhelmingly they want significant changes in voting processes to make it simpler and more convenient — clearly evidenced by the huge mail in vote in B.C. this time and the very low in person voting.

Sure, part of the reason for this is the COVID pandemic but it’s also mostly about convenience. It’s time Elections BC smartened up and gave us an online and much simpler voting system so more than 60 per cent of electors will actually vote in our elections. It’s also time we had one system covering federal, provincial, regional and local elections.

Smartening up would also include getting rid of the ridiculous and silly 13 day delay to count our mail in votes — this seems designed for horse and buggy delivery of ballots. Even the post office moves much quicker than that! Most of those mail in votes Elections BC claims they need two weeks to count have been in their possession for more than a month.

Why can’t these votes be checked and tabulated on secure computers as they arrive at Elections BC with the results announced on election day or the day after? Too much nonsense and bureaucracy going on here. It’s no wonder that it costs as much as $15 per person to vote in B.C. elections!

The biggest ignored elephant in our elections is online voting. We have had the internet for more than three decades and it’s pervasive in most aspects of our lives. Our medical records are online, our legislatures vote online, we can buy a house online, arrange a mortgage through the internet, pay our bills, borrow money, and do our banking there. And yes we already vote extensively online in many organizations and it’s all legal with few complications.

Now is the time for our bureaucrats and politicians to get moving on this. Surely B.C.’s world class high tech and academic sector can develop a virtually hack proof online voting system as we move through the 21st century. Let’s get on with it.

W.E. (Bill) Dumont

Cobble Hill