Dreaming of a day where you can vote from the comfort of your own home?
Don’t expect it to arrive any time soon.
Inclusive is the key word for any vote, whether it be a referendum, municipal election or all the way up to a federal election. Inclusive means that everyone has to have an equal opportunity to vote.
While electronic voting machines, or vote counting machines like those used in Penticton accomplish that goal, a move to online voting, while practical and straightforward for many, would disenfranchise those that may not be comfortable or dexterous with modern technologies.
Still, the possibility is being looked into by the province, which has organized a task force for the 2018 election.
“There have been lots of tests in different jurisdictions around Canada doing electronic voting,” said Karen Needham, from the City of Kelowna.
“The City of Edmonton did an extensive trial, and at the end of the day they decided not to do it.”
There were several reasons for the decision, not the least of which being cost.
For Penticton, there would be almost 33,000 people to access, and the cost to allow for an electronic vote is somewhere in the area of $3 apiece.
“So, it’s lots of money,” she said. “And then there are the issues of the integrity of the vote and privacy.”
For instance, it would be hard to tell if one person in a home was forcing others to vote as told, or even casting their votes for them.
No doubt, voting at home will eventually arrive, but it will need to wait for the day when technology is really as accessible and universal as we all think it is right now.
Until that day comes, we need to keep the voting process open, transparent and accessible for all.