By Gerry Barker
April 27, 2017
Last Monday night, by a slim one-vote majority. Council voted to not use online voting for the 2018 civic election. The seven rejecting online voting include: James Gordon, Phil Allt, June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, Karl Wettstein and Leanne Piper and, surprise Bob Bell.
I’ve always has respect for the W1 councillor but this decision is doubly baffling.
His comment that: “The only valid argument for online voting that I have heard is the issue of accessibility for those that need it,” Coun. Bob Bell said. “For me, what’s important is that we protect the integrity of the process.”
Bob, did you have your hearing aids in? Did you not vote for online voting as a member of the Farbridge administration? Were you not re-elected in 2014? Were you not the beneficiary of online voting in that election? Or, maybe you didn’t know but check the 2014 advance poll results to see how many voted for you online.
Did you think at that time that online voting was an insecure method of casting a ballot?
In the straw vote conducted in the Committee of the Whole you voted to disallow online voting two weeks ago. This was before you heard the compelling arguments from Aleksander Essex, a professor from the University of Western Ontario. Does he live in Guelph? Is he familiar with the more than 97 Ontario municipalities who use online voting, including the City of Toronto and Ottawa?
The professor said: “We are in unchartered territory here. He continued: “There are insufficient advances in the technology to implement it (online voting) at this time.”
Gee, where was the professor three years ago to speculate on the lack of technology that was used by the city in 2014?
Did the Farbridge administration request an opinion from the professor in 2013 when online voting was being considered?
Were the two experts paid to make their presentations to council? If so, who paid for their attendance?
Former city councilor Maggie Laidlaw said council was “naive” when it gave the go-ahead to advanced online voting for the 2014 municipal election. Well that did not help her to be re-elected.
Naivety has nothing to do with it, fair and square the outcome was validated and Maggie, the Mayor and Todd Dennis were defeated. Two others did not run.
This is all about poitical risk management by denying people to register their opinions in a 21st century manner.
So here is what has to happen in 2018.
The citizens have to collectively register their opinions to reform our civic economy, already destroyed by secret spending of millions of public money.
The progressive candidates, no. read that regressive, need to be defeated. Let’s finish the job in 2018.
If I were Coun. Bob Bell, I would retire or he faces going to be hit with putting alleged online voting security ahead of those who are disabled and unable to vote.
That sounds like a losing platform.
This decision reeks of defensive political action to prevent election defeats that occurred in 2014 when the former mayor lost by more than 5,000 votes. It is facetious to blame online voting for the defeat. Just do the math. The total votes cast on Election Day was 45,000, more than half, 54 per cent went to Cam Guthrie. The overall breakdown result is self-evident. Guthrie won both the advanced poll and the Election Day vote, hands down.
Since 2014, the regressives tried to block the volunteer citizen’s group, GrassRoots Guelph, with a Susan Watson complaint that GRG could not donate money to a candidate. The Independent audit proved otherwise and her frivolous complaint cost the city $11,000 to process.
Then as chorus of the Fair Vote Canada Guelph chapter, MS Watson ‘s group expected to have the city reform the entire civic voting system by agreeing to allow proportional voting. That was turned down.
Now Ms. Watson and her dellow regressives have successfully stopped online voting in the city for 2018.
The grip that the regressives have on this council must end. We need responsible citizens to step forward and organize a reform movement to clean up the financial mess remaining three years after the former mayor has gone.
All you have to do is take a hard look at your property tax bills for the past three years and the user fees charged to use city facilities, to decide to help change the administration once and for all.
There is not a better time to start than now.
If you agree, send me your name and email to join our growing protest of this attempt to stifle our right to vote and participate in our civic affairs.