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Municipal 2018
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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

Voting tabulators

The tabulators are in

This election saw the highest voter turnout since 1999. At 58 per cent, it’s still not great, but it is what it is. This was also the first election with electronic vote counting. Elections Ontario spent $32 million bringing voting into the 21st century, and it paid off.

Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa said new tech helped improve the voting and counting processes.

Results started pouring in within minutes of the polls closing, a PC win was projected within 15 minutes by CBC analysts, and it only took another six minutes to project a PC majority.

The best part about the new tabulators was the individual voter didn’t have to do anything different - just put an “X” beside their choice.

There was no technology learning curve, there was no required internet connection, and there was no different “feel” about the election.

Once the ballot has been fed into the tabulator, the machine registers the vote and drops the ballot into a secure box.

When the polls close, the returning officer calls in the results of the machine’s count.

My polling station had two tabulators, and I was in and out within 15 minutes at a peak time.

Even with the long lines, which happen at any election, the tabulator sped up the process. Even with some technological glitches, which aren’t any worse than human errors, 99.6% of the electronic vote counters were working correctly.

In 2018, it’s time we had these in every polling station across the country.

– Olivia


VS.


Verification needed

On June 7, Ontario voted. Every citizen 18 years of age and older was given the opportunity to let their voice be heard when choosing our next premier.

As soon as my ballot was in my hand I felt privileged. I could vote for my choice without any fear.

This election Ontario piloted a new electronic tabulator voting method; voters marked their choice, fed their ballot into a machine and were told their vote was cast.

Something sounds fishy.

Our democratic right to vote was boiled down to computer recognition? That’s a red flag.

From what I’ve heard, at no point were voters able to confirm the computer correctly interpreted their choice. What if the computer was programmed incorrectly or malfunctioning?

With Canada’s anonymous voting method, no one but the voter knew their choice.

While it’s impressive that the new method provided results within 15 minutes of the polls closing, the difficulties at the beginning of election day can’t be ignored.

Nine different polling stations experienced technical difficulties, with the electronic tabulator keeping one station open until 1am - we already knew Doug Ford was our next premier before that poll closed.

I was lucky. I voted traditionally, marking my ballot and casting it with my own hand into the Elections Ontario box. Until there’s a way to verify what a tabulator reads as my choice, I say “no” to electronic tabulators.

I would happily wait a few hours for election results in exchange for casting my own ballot.

– Jaime

Vol 51 Issue 24

 
 

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