Internet-Voting Only, Aurora Council Opposed the Idea


Internet-Voting

During the April 18, 2017 General Committee meeting, Aurora Town staff presented recommendations to our Town Council to consider moving forward with internet-voting only as an alternative voting method for the next Municipal Elections 2018. The majority of our Town Council opposed the idea. In the video here you can watch the interesting round table discussion (shortened a bit) mainly surrounding the potential security issues related to internet-voting.


Perhaps in the future that same discussion may not even take place. At the end of the day those challenges are not going away, and instead of shutting down the idea, the next council may have more courage and will choose to tackle those challenges. Personally, I am all for tackling them now.

Source: Town of Aurora General Committee Meeting Report Aurora Town Hall Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Yes, security is an issue. It is a big issue in fact with internet-voting as well as with everything else we do online today. Whether we shop, bank, or communicate, each has risks with potential for different detrimental effects on our lives. Anything related to the Internet will always have security risks, always. There is no easy solution just because security risks are part of human evil and often they cannot be predicted why the motivation, how it will be done, when and where it will take place. Either you are first or last or take a scientific approach, risks will always be there.

However, we can always continue to protect ourselves by taking all the necessary security measures to be proposed by IT security consultants to aim for a 100% bullet proof internet-voting infrastructure. It is also imperative that voters are educated and aware of the security risks and also the consequences of illegal activities.

The Town staff and Governance Review Ad Hoc Committee recommended ‘internet-voting only’ with outlined details in the report. It is the Council’s final decision which route should be pursued. I can’t comment on the timing or deadline related to make the decision; however, I believe the report presented to Council contained sufficient information to support the introduction of internet-voting as an alternative voting method for the Town of Aurora.

“… security risks are part of human evil and often they cannot be predicted why the motivation, how it will be done, when and where it will take place.”
It was clear in the report that the Town Staff recommended internet-voting and security risks would need to be mitigated as one of the challenges. Some Councillors voiced concerns after searching online themselves and finding older security risk studies that were not referenced in the Town Staff report. Debating what information should be included versus excluded in the report is fine; however the report recommendation must be based on supporting information. How would the report be received if it appeared to be contradictory or indecisive? ‘Why recommend then?’ someone would eventually ask.

As I mentioned, this is the direction our society is moving, security risks are not going away, and we will be better off as a community if we face the challenge together soon, in my opinion of course. However, I do believe that it is Council’s responsibility to debate the report and challenge the recommendation based on their own findings as well. Disappointment is a stretch. Readiness is another issue.

Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes
Aurora, ON

Copyright 2017 Anna Lozyk Romeo / Living in Aurora

Internet-Voting

Aurora Ontario

Previous Beautiful Spring Snow Fall, Town of Aurora Ontario
Next Hydro Transformers Boxes - Warning! Do Not Open or Climb

2 Comments

  1. 2017-04-24

    I don’t believe the report presented to Council contained sufficient information to support the introduction of internet-voting and applaud Clr. Thom for doing the necessary research on this subject to round out what was missing in the report.

    The report didn’t touch on why Elections Canada has no plans to introduce electronic casting or counting of votes, as per their notice of proposed procurement for Electronic Polls Books issued March of this year. Nor did it touch on why Ontario does not permit the use of Internet voting in provincial elections. A three-year study of “network voting” concluded in 2013 that “At this point, we do not have a viable method of network voting that meets our criteria and protects the integrity of the electoral process.” If there is a viable method for networking voting since the conclusion of this study what is it exactly.

    The biggest missing component of the report is what criteria staff has set for protecting the integrity of the electoral process, and how exactly they plan to match that criteria with a solution.

    I agree that the report recommendation must be based on supporting information. It was woefully short on this.

    As to How would the report be received if it appeared to be contradictory or indecisive? It would be questioned.

    As the report before council does not want to address the contradictory information it is now incumbent upon council to do so.