We can now shop, bank and even pay our federal taxes online. Eventually we will be able to vote online.
City council, however, in an odd 8-5 decision Monday decided voting online, by phone or mail would have to wait at least another couple of years.
Remote voting in Ontario has a track record – 20 municipalities use the system and not once has there been a report of a single case of fraud.
A remote voting system could make the democratic process easier for voters who have trouble with the trek to the polling stations. Disabled, elderly and residents temporarily away from the city’s limits should not have been denied this option.
Still, some councillors decided it would be safer to cling to knee-jerk assumptions. Like Coun. Trevor Giertuga, who said he believed online voting could lead to people selling their votes. Is there any reason to come to such a conclusion?
Absolutely not. It’s just an easy and random assumption made about the so-called scary and unsecured Internet. It’s also a statement that shows the ignorance toward a world rapidly changing and adopting remote options with the security.
Despite Monday’s outcome, remote voting will be available to Thunder Bay residents eventually. Saying that day will never come is the equivalent of saying in the late ’90s that online banking would never work.
Council missed an opportunity Monday to make the fall election a more open and accessible experience.