Survey may lead to online voting for 2026 Oshawa municipal elections

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Published June 3, 2024 at 3:20 pm

online voting

Internet voting could be a thing in Oshawa in time for the municipal elections in 2026 and the City wants to hear what the public has to say about the issue.

An online system was successfully used in Clarington in 2022.

Oshawa polled residents in late 2022 on how voting went for the just completed municipal elections and discovered online voting to be one of biggest issues of the election.

This year the City is using Environics Research to poll residents via telephone or online to participate in a confidential survey to “explore the possibility” of offering internet voting for its 2026 municipal and school board elections and to hear opinions on the subject.

Residents will be surveyed from June 3 to June 19. Those not contacted by Environics Research can complete a feedback form before noon on Thursday, June 20 through Connect Oshawa or on paper at Service Oshawa during regular business hours.

Responses will be considered in a report recommending voting methods for the 2026 elections and will be delivered to Council later this year.

Brock Township is also considering an online voting option.

Just 18.4 per cent of eligible voters turned out the polls in 2022; the lowest ever for a municipal election and down from 24.1 per cent (2018), 26.4 per cent (2014) and 29.9 per cent (2020). The hope is internet voting will be able to bump up those numbers.

Clarington launched its online voting system in 2022 to allow voters to vote “anywhere, anytime” using an online device, tablet or telephone.

Voters were able to use the new system between October 18 and election day on October 24., 2022.

The online launch came fresh off a provincial election that year rife with technical problems – 27 polling stations in 19 ridings in Ontario held their polls open longer because of power failures and other issues.

The online voting system was also used successfully in the 2019 Northwest Territories election.

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