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Grimsby moves to online voting

Grimsby residents may be casting their vote online for the upcoming municipal election.

Monday night, the Administration and Finance Committee recommended that council adopt an alternative voting method –- internet and telephone electronic voting –– for the 2014 municipal election.

“We’ve always had a procedure where we visit all retirement homes to go through the voting process with them,” said Admin and Finance Chair Steve Berry.

There will also be help lines set up for voters to call with any questions.

For those who prefer to cast their votes at a poling station, a voting centre will be set up at the town hall.

“Things should be a lot easier this year compared to the last election because the town hall renovations are complete,” Berry said.

Another issue during the last election was complications with the voter list. There were duplicates and inaccuracies.

The list is being reviewed to ensure it is as accurate as possible.

Berry said there are many benefits to e-voting, including convenience, accessibility, and environmental benefits.

“We’re really hoping this will increase voter turnout,” said Berry, adding that the e-voting method makes it easy and convenient for everyone to cast a vote, anytime from anywhere.

The approximate total cost of vote by mail is $109,000, pole station voting total is $124,350 and electronic voting is $70,000.

If approved by council next week, eligible voters will receive a pin number by mail before the election in October. Voters can vote by using a touch-tone phone but not a rotary dial telephone, or by accessing the internet address provided by using a dial up modem or high-speed connection. A voting centre will also be provided to eligible electors at the town hall. Touch-tone telephones, computers and election officials will be available for assistance.

E-Voting is secure, when a person votes online. Voters login for the voting platform is tied to a cyrptographic key that is used to create a digital signature. The signature is necessary to protect the integrity and authenticity of their vote.

With e-voting, counterfeit ballots or ballot box tampering is not a real possibility since all the votes are digitally signed using cryptographic keys that just the voter can use. Anyone adding a counterfeit ballot would not be able to digitally sign it using a valid key and any vote tampering attempt would be deterred by reviewing the digital signatures.

Staff are hoping to have a demonstration of evoting on the town’s website soon.

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