By Devan Mighton – Originally published in the LaSalle Post on Apr. 21, 2017
(LASALLE, ON) – Big changes are coming to the way LaSalle residents will elect Town officials in the near future.
Last week, LaSalle Town Council passed a measure to allow internet and telephone voting for the upcoming 2018 municipal election.
“Council approved it, now it is just a matter of me locating a vendor that has the right security measures, the right credentials, the right processes, and recommending that to Council,” said Town clerk and director of Council services Brenda Andreatta.
“It will be through a service provider. There’s a number of companies in the industry who provide both internet and telephone e-voting services in Ontario.”
Andreatta stated that they had not yet spoken to vendors but anticipate that they will take in company demonstrations while meeting with potential providers this June at a conference for Ontario’s municipal clerks and treasurers.
“We will, of course, be looking at the track record of companies and how they performed using those alternative voting methods in the 2014 election and speaking to clerks in those municipalities to make sure they were happy with the product.”
One of the big focuses of the new voting method is accessibility and keeping seniors involved in the political process.
“We will … be providing extra services at or to retirement homes in LaSalle and we would send staff out there to assist any voters who are residents in those homes to vote that way,” said Andreatta.
The Province did a study of e-voting users after the 2014 municipal elections to assess the age brackets of those who most greatly benefited from the new method.
“Surprisingly enough, the surveys … indicated that it is not the age group we would assume are the real advocates for this form of voting,” Andreatta said.
“It was actually some voters in their 50s or 60s who said they found it to be the most convenient.”
The results were unanticipated as younger voters would be expected to be more tech-savvy and willing to jump on board with the more relaxed process.
Please visit LaSalle.ca for more information.