Posted by: VPSN | January 18, 2011

Piloting online voting – a good idea, with a few caveats

The VPSN wrote a short note in support of the idea of an on-line voting pilot project.  A motion to that effect is being considered at City Council today. 

While this sort of strategy does raise questions about the idea of broader civic engagement in Vancouver, we do, nevertheless, feel that it’s important to test initiatives like this.

Assuming that the expected caveats around the safety and security of online voting platforms can be met, we offered a few additional items for consideration — a note about starting the project with online voter registration (something we argued for in our 2008 Public Space Manifesto), and a further comment about not reducing the number of physical polling stations.

The Vancouver Public Space Network supports in principle the idea of a pilot project to explore the feasibility of on-line voting in upcoming local elections.  We believe that increasing opportunities for residents to participate in municipal elections is a useful mechanism with which to support citizen engagement.

In offering this support, we wish to note two items for your consideration:

(1) On-line voter registration – We understand that there are questions about the time and resources that would be required to launch this pilot for the 2011 municipal contest.  In the absence of actual on-line balloting in the 2011 election, we feel that making on-line voter registration available could be a logical first step that could improve engagement with the election process.  It is likely that this would not require the same resource considerations and could play a useful role in phasing the implementation of this pilot.

(2) Physical polling stations – We wish to clarify that a pilot project of this sort would not result in the reduction of physical polling stations.

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