Go ahead, mail it in
While Justin Trudeau may (or may not) be discussing electoral reform at the federal level, our municipal councils have also been weighing options on how best to get you out of your most comfortable chair and into the voter’s booth.
For years, councils have discussed the use of vote-by-mail, vote-by-phone, electronic voting, etc. It all boils down to what is the most secure and democratic way for everyone to vote.
In my not-so-many years as a voter, I have only once used a mail-in system. It was convenient, simple to understand and allowed me (I was out of town at the time) to participate in the democratic process.
In light of many hacking scandals, it is easy to understand why people shy away from electronic votes. Nothing is more sacred than a citizen’s right to vote in an election. At the municipal level, this still holds true.
But vote-by-mail is taking root.
Wellington North first used mail-in voting for a by election and the turnout (48%) was far better than it was in the regular election (38%), which used the traditional method.
Voting by mail could help with accessibility, inclement weather, time restraints, staffing costs, etc., allowing more Canadians to be involved. As for voter fraud, that can happen regardless of the voting method.
Stick with tradition
As Canadians, it is our democratic right to vote for political leaders at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Special circumstances aside, during federal and provincial elections in Ontario we go to a polling station, prove our identity and cast our ballot.
Yet many municipalities throughout Wellington have decided to elect local councils through mail-in voting and some municipalities are even considering e-voting.
Progress is all well and good, but traditional voting is one of the tried and true practices we just shouldn’t tamper with.
When voting in person it’s next to impossible for anyone other than the identified individual to cast the ballot.
Government-issued ID is presented, names are crossed off lists, ballots are retrieved, private areas are secured and the voters cast their ballots.
When it comes to choosing governmental leaders can it ever be too secure? Consider the alternatives.
When voting by mail each eligible voter receives the same package. What’s to stop one person in a residence from collecting each kit, choosing their preferred candidate and mailing in all the ballots? Similar risks exist for online and telephone voting.
Our democratic system is sacred and built on the foundation that each voter has a say.
Choose traditional voting.