With the approach of municipal elections in the Ontarion on October 22nd, the citizens of the municipalities where it is possible to vote by internet are concerned about election fraud and the loss of voters older at the expense of the young.
The city of Markham, Ontario was the first city to allow internet voting in 2003. In the last municipal elections in 2014, 97 municipalities of the province offered the possibility to vote by internet or by phone. Residents will receive their electoral card through the post, and on this card is a personal identification number (PIN) 16 digits that they must use to vote.
Even if this possibility exists since few years already, some voters are concerned about their options. In the municipality of Alfred-Plantagenet, for example, where voting takes place only by telephone or through the internet, several voters reported that they have received the PIN of their children, who are not living with them, or one of the former tenants.
“I know a lot of people to whom it happens, and they do not know what to do with it,” explains the organizer of the recent presentation of candidates for the municipal elections of Alfred-Plantagenet, Nathalie Duval.
The board of directors of Alfred-Plantagenet, it is explained that it is up to the voter to inform the municipality that it no longer resides at this place, and not the contrary. “If a resident has received a form that is not sent, it tells him to return it or call us,” says the assistant clerk of the board of directors of Alfred-Plantagenet, Annie Rochefort.
A second measure of security is also in place to prevent this kind of electoral fraud : the date of birth. After you have registered a PIN number to 16 digits, the voter needs to enter his date of birth in order to be able to proceed to a vote.
Ms. Duval is concerned about the fact that the parents and the owners know the date of birth of their children, or their tenants. “The municipal elections act provides that it is illegal to vote for another. Voting by proxy does not exist, ” said Ms. Rochefort.
Concerns for seniors
Among the fears are also those of older people, who “would have liked to be able to vote with an” X “on a sheet of paper,” according to the candidate for mayor of Alfred-Plantagenet, Stéphane Sarrazin. The latter tells of having received several comments from citizens who have difficulty to register their vote via the internet. “For some, just the PIN number to 16 digits can be a lot,” said the candidate.
For people who have difficulties with online voting, it is possible to go to city hall to get assistance in the computer. Mr. Sarrazin is of the opinion however, that internet voting may allow greater participation, especially among young people. “On the other hand, it must be said that young people could be more involved, it takes 30 seconds. We’re going to win young people, but we are going to lose the elderly “, lance-t-il, adding that the average age in the municipality is 43 years and that the city council, she was approximately 60 years. “We must not lose our seniors,” said Sarrazin.
Most municipalities in eastern ontario have to offer the voting online or by telephone, with the exception of Cornwall, which does not have this technology.