Internet Voting: The Canadian Municipal Experience

Article 3 / 13 , Vol 33 No 3 (Autumn)

Internet Voting: The Canadian Municipal Experience

On January 26, 2010 Carleton University hosted a public policy workshop addressing Internet voting and what Canada can learn from existing cases and trials both locally and abroad. It brought together academics, technical experts, parliamentarians, political party representatives, government officials, representatives from electoral administration authorities and other professionals from Canada, the United States, and Europe. A report entitled, A Comparative Assessment of Electronic Voting, was prepared by the Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue for Elections Canada leading up to the workshop. This article outlines the experiences of three Canadian municipalities that have tried Internet voting and suggests some lessons for other jurisdictions. It is drawn mainly from the report, which is available on the Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue (Strategic Knowledge Cluster) website. This slightly revised and edited extract is published with the permission of Elections Canada.

In the past decade various types of electronic voting, particularly Internet voting, have garnered considerable attention as possible additional voting methods that hold promise to make the electoral process simpler and more efficient for political parties, candidates, election administrators, and most importantly, for electors. The term electronic voting is a blanket term used to describe an array of voting methods that operate using electronic technology. There are three primary types of electronic voting, namely machine counting, computer voting and on-line or Internet voting. With respect to the last of these types, there are four kinds of electronic voting that use the Internet; these include kiosk Internet voting, polling place Internet voting, precinct Internet voting, and remote Internet voting.1

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