Online Voting. file photo.

Opposition To Online Voting

Local seniors are holding a public meeting on Friday to air concerns about changes to the voting process for the 2018 municipal election.

Sarnia council passed a resolution in November 2016 to go to telephone and internet balloting and do away with the traditional paper method.

Lambton Seniors Association spokesperson Bernice Rade says many elderly residents don’t have access to the necessary technology.

“A move to online voting will inherently mean that people who cannot access that system because of knowledge or hardware cannot vote,” says Rade. “There should be paper ballot locations available throughout the city, as in the past. Setting up special locations where people can be helped with their online voting is not a reasonable solution.”

“They’ve held public meetings regarding dog parks, tree bylaws, and bus service but did not take time to consult with the people of Sarnia with respect to online voting. We’ve met with both federal and provincial representatives and they’ve agreed to bring our concerns to their respective levels of government.”

The public meeting is being held on Friday at 2pm at Clearwater Arena. The seniors association will then take feedback from the meeting and present it to city council.

In the meantime, City Clerk Dianne Gould-Brown says they’ve launched a new website to clear up any misconceptions about the new system.

“We had some concerns from people about reliability, and access to an actual computer to do this and whether there were any security issues,” says Gould-Brown. “We’ll be addressing that in 2018 and the clerks in the area will get together to talk about policy and procedure. The nomination period doesn’t open until May 1, 2018 so before that time we’ll be getting out there with information for the public about how this will all be undertaken for the municipal election in October.”

Gould-Brown says internet and telephone voting will also be conducted Lambton Shores, Oil Springs, Petrolia, Pt. Edward, Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick. She says those who don’t have access can go to city hall on election night to cast their electronic ballots.

The municipal election is being held on October 22, 2018.

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