In mid-December Guelph Eramosa council voted to approve vote-by-mail for the 2018 municipal election.
Short an important voice at that meeting, council plowed ahead, months in advance of the May 2017 deadline to establish voting methods for 2018. Councillor David Wolk was absent due to illness.
According to our reporter the debate was lengthy, which may be the only redeeming aspect of this subject.
Alternative voting is nothing new. It has been used for quite some time throughout Wellington County. It has been touted as a way to increase voter turnout, making it easier for anyone to vote. That remains our concern. Anyone shouldn’t get to vote, except the voter. Examples exist of “dad” voting for the whole family.
To us the vote remains a sacred trust, not left to chance. “One person, one vote” isn’t a hard concept to appreciate.
For decades, township voters have made their way to the polls. Advanced polls accommodate voters who are away on election-day or find it difficult to get out without assistance. Voters are screened and need to provide verification of their identity and right to vote. It surely was not as complex as bureaucrats would have us believe.
At Guelph-Eramosa, a lone councillor spoke for traditional voting. Mark Bouwmeester of Ward 4 was unable to sway fellow councillors or the mayor to revert back to a voting method residents could be certain was secure.
One councillor proposed something different. Corey Woods of Ward 3, stated the township was “looking like cavemen” by not providing on-line voting.
He went on to say there are “some perceived security risks with online voting, but there’s also risks with any method of voting.” We aren’t sure that is an accurate statement.
What we do know is telephone voting was not secure.
We know the township’s mail-in system resulted in charges being laid against a former official who voted twice in one election and was forced to pay a fine.
We know the internet isn’t fool-proof by a long shot. Large corporations and governments have been hacked and account information pilfered.
There are no examples known to us of voter fraud using the traditional method in the township’s history.
The sanctity of the ballot is something we hold too dear to leave to chance. If that makes us a caveman, yabba dabba doo.