Is the new Internet voting system another boo-boo by the Farbridge administration?

Posted September 24, 2014

Well if it didn’t work in this week’s New Brunswick provincial election as advertised, what makes it workable in Guelph?

It seems Dominion Voting Systems Corp. has signed contracts with dozens of Ontario municipalities to use its integrated Internet and manual voting systems.

Yep! Guelph has signed on.

When council voted to introduce Internet voting, the administration songbirds touted it as another progressive step to bring the city in lock step with the growth of technology. Guelph is not alone in signing up with this company. Other cities and towns include Halton, Burlington, Peterborough, Markham, Oshawa, Kingston, Chatham-Kent

The City of Toronto passed on this system in favor of its own Internet voting system for the visually impaired. Do they know something the others don’t?

The Dominion Voting Systems Corp. contract requires two options: To buy online voting services or lease the vote counting machines.

It is not known at this time which option Guelph chose.

The experience in New Brunswick revealed that first, the poll results are called into the returning office where they are manually entered into the system and posted online.

Later on, memory cards from tabulation machines are brought from the polling stations to the returning office The memory card results are uploaded to the provincial website, replacing the results that were entered manually.

The New Brunswick election officials admitted there was “slight discrepancy” between the data from some of the memory cards and the numbers that were entered manually.

It would appear that a “slight discrepancy” is an indication that the system contracted by the City of Guelph is open to human error and the potential of manipulating the vote.

Absent is no apparent checks or balances system to ensure validity of the vote. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Guelph is recently appointed city clerk, Steve Vincent. He’s been on the job about three months replacing Blair Labelle who was moved to head up the IT (information technology) department.
As this is probably the most important vote in recent memory, the administration must ensure the system operates without error, that all is above board and transparent.

Another important aspect for this CEO is to avoid the debacle in recent elections where certain voters deliberately voted more than once. One student bragged that he voted five times.

On the surface, the Dominion Voting Systems Corp has experienced some glitches that may or may not be the fault of the system purchased by Guelph.

You can be assured that today, there are some very concerned electoral officers in two dozen municipalities across Ontario who signed contracts with this company.

The last thing we need is a contested election based on a breakdown of the voting system and or fraudulent voting.

After all, Guelph has the dubious distinction of being the home of vote fraudster Pierre Poutine in the last federal election.

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5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “Is the new Internet voting system another boo-boo by the Farbridge administration?

  1. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    PICTON has used the Internet voting system for several municipal elections and seemed to work well as reported to me.Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the company with which they dealt.By the way,accommodating members of the disabled is a very high priority both federally and provincially but I’m not certain what GUELPH does to ensure they have no difficulty in voting municipally david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

    • David Birtwistle: The population of Picton has remained steady since 1991 at 4,673 currently. The total population of Prince Edward County is 25,258 of which Picton is part. I think managing an election within that population base cannot compare with Guelph’s current StasCan population figure of 128,000. I agree that the citizens who are infirm or disabled should be given every opportunity to vote. I am troubled by the association with this company and its Internet voting system following the reports of the New Brunswick outcome.

  2. pegy powell

    I was going to vote on line , but, I had a sneaking suspicion that the outcome could be manipulated. I want my vote to count ,so I guess that I will tough it out and vote the old fashioned way. If there is away to manipulate it , it should not be allowed.

    • DAVID BIRTWISTLE

      pegy powell:I,too,have the same trepidation about this on-line voting as I’m not confident that the results can be accessed prior to the 27th as I’m not clear on the security of the collected data and who has such access.Access by a candidate and/or candidates would be of tremendous help in last minute GOTV(Get-Out-The-Vote) determinations.Gerry:What difference does the difference in populations make-a specious argument.Don’t forget GUELPH citizens who are out of the City can also vote externally. david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

    • David Birtwistle: It’s a matter of scale when comparing the populations and organizational complexity.

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