Online voting gets tepid thumbs up at UBCM

Call for modernization for 2018 elections narrowly passes amid fears over e-voting privacy, manipulation

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

B.C. municipal leaders voted by a slim margin Wednesday to urge the province to enable online voting in time for the 2018 local elections.

The resolution from Osoyoos was passed by 51 per cent of delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in an electronic vote after it had initially been declared defeated in a show of hands.

Advocates say the convenience of online voting could boost the dismal turnout of municipal elections and engage many more young people.

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer said no municipality would be forced to adopt online voting, the aim is merely to make it an available option for communities and individuals that want it.

But Saanich Coun. Vic Derman warned there’s no way to guarantee an online voter is casting their ballot in privacy, without someone else directing or manipulating them, possibly buying their vote.

“It does affect one’s privacy of vote that should take place behind a screen at a ballot box,” said Lorne Lewis, a Sunshine Coast Regional District director. He said it’s wrong “to put people in a situation where they can be badgered about their vote.”

The close vote suggests the issue is having increasing trouble gaining traction.

A similar UBCM motion in 2011 passed by a two-to-one margin.

Since then, an independent panel struck by the provincial government concluded last year that the risks outweigh the benefits, and recommended that any move to online voting be limited to voters with specific accessibility challenges.

That report by B.C.’s chief electoral officer also found no evidence of a significant increase in voter turnout in other jurisdictions that have adopted online voting.

Reimer isn’t concerned about the close vote and said online voting for B.C. mayors and councils is inevitable.

“The only question is when and how far behind other jurisdictions we’ll be when we get to that point.”

Just Posted

Take an Old Bag to Tea Okanagan hospital trauma room fundraiser

A special fundraising event is June 9 to help equip the trauma room of the new David E. Kampe Tower

Minnesota standout latest signing for Okanagan BCHL squad

Liam Malmquist of Minnesota coming to Vees for 2019/2020 season

Early-morning fire destroys Okanagan packing house

Cause of fire that destroyed an Oliver packing house remains under investigation.

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Video: Third annual Ellis on the Rise brings joy to community

The block party was hosted by the Downtown Penticton Association and Ellis Street business owners

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

Most Read