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

Lightning strikes spark 38 fires in B.C., 13 in the region

13 new fires in the Okanagan have been reported from the BC Wildfire Service Tuesday night.

UPDATE: Several fires burning in Lower Similkameen

At least one fire near Keremeos was caused by lightening

911 jams causes panic among residents

RDOS chair received several calls and texts from panicked residents unable to get through to 911

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

Lightning strikes across B.C. Interior

Residents are being asked to go inside until last rumble of thunder

VIDEO: Vernon residents quick to jump on lightning fire

Thanks to the residents’ efforts, crews were able to quickly suppress the fire.

UPDATED: Four small wildfires reported near Revelstoke following Tuesday night storm

Four new wildfires are currently burning near Revelstoke following Tuesday night’s lightning… Continue reading

Several attacked with bear spray at Kalamalka Beach

Police have apprehended a 16-year-old Vernon male.

Hells Angels celebrating 35th anniversary party on Vancouver Island

Additional police resources will be in Nanaimo this weekend as roughly 300 members and hang arounds are expected

New campaign aims to tide food waste at home

About 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is discarded in Canada every year

‘Savour the Okanagan’ fundraiser in Vernon Saturday

All contributions and proceeds will go towards JoeAnna’s House

B.C. couple reunited with dog three years after disappearance

A purebred Pomeranian is back with his parents, likely after years in a puppy mill.

BC Nurses Union calls for decriminalization of opioids

BCNU president wants the federal government to do more to reduce preventable deaths

West Kelowna firefighters perform rescue after lightning strike

Crews rescued two people from an apartment’s elevator on Carrington Road

Most Read