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No guarantees online

To the editor: Kudos to Lawrence Timko with regards to his letter, Count Them By Hand, dated March 3, 2010. The poor system he describes is that paper ballots for the municipal election are scanned by machines.

To the editor:

Kudos to Lawrence Timko with regards to his letter, Count Them By Hand, dated March 3, 2010.

The poor system he describes is that paper ballots for the municipal election are scanned by machines. At least we could verify these machines were working properly by hand-counting the ballots at a randomly picked polling station.

Not once has this been done, since these machines came into effect, which makes me distrustful of this system.

With Internet voting, do they honestly believe there will be a larger voter turnout?

Traditionally, municipal elections have a voter turnout between 40 and 50 per cent.

Federal and provincial elections have a voter turnout between 60 and 70 per cent. They use hand-counted ballots.

With Internet voting, how does general public have the opportunity to examine the ballots? Where is the guarantee my vote would be kept secret?

Who’s to say they couldn’t manipulate the numbers behind the scene to make it appear there would be a large voter turnout?

I agree with Mr. Timko.

We should return to hand-counted ballots, not only for the transparency, but also for the lesser cost and the fact the people determine the outcome of the election, not administration. Sault Ste. Marie still runs a hand-count system that costs approximately $186,000.

If we were to scale that cost with our city’s population, it would be roughly $296,000.
With the system we have now, if we added the capital cost of the machines over a 20 year period ($9,000 per year), the annual maintenance fees for the three non-election years and the running the election itself, it costs approximately $360,000.

As an added bonus, since the majority of the cost to hold a hand-counted election goes to regular people counting the votes, approximately $140,000 additional dollars would be spent in our local economy.

I do intend on speaking publicly with regards to this matter.

Furthermore, I believe this should be an election issue, so we can have a system that serves the electorate, not one that makes it convenient for administration.

Let the people count.

Andy Wolff,
Thunder Bay