| Mar 23, 2006


Feature Article - March 23, 2006

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Feature Article - March 23, 2006

Addington Highlands considers telephone and internet voting:AHCouncil,March 20, 2006

by Jule KochBrison

At the Denbigh meeting, Addington Highlands Council discussed the possibility of replacing mail-in voting with Intelivote, a system of voting by touch tone phone, Internet, or cell phone. Intelivote Systems Inc. is headquartered in Nova Scotia . With the system they provide, PIN numbers are mailed to electors to enable them to vote by phone or online. Township Clerk/CAO Jack Pauhl presented an 18 point list that compared Intelivote favourably with mail-in voting.

Some of the advantages are:

- With Intelivote the elector gets positive and immediate confirmation that he or she has voted; mail-in ballots, on the other hand, can get lost, and there is no confirmation that they have been processed.

- No lead time is required for receiving and mailing ballots in; ballots can be cast right up to the last minute on voting day.

Letters

- Intelivote would eliminate the labour of handling, opening, sorting, validating, counting, storing and destroying ballots. Also, the count is immediately available after voting ends.

- Visually impaired voters are given options, including telephone and internet screen recognition.

- Candidates are able to print out updated lists of the voters that have already cast their ballots (but not how they voted), thereby avoiding the nuisance of pitching their campaign to people who have already voted.

- Intelivote Systems Inc. would match the cost of mail-in voting.

Reeve Hook said that electronic voting would be a very good service for seasonal residents. Some councilors expressed concern about the security of the system, and Jack Pauhl said that Intelivote uses a number of protocols to ensure against fraud and misuse.

Councilor Bill Cox asked where the votes are stored; “In a computer somewhere”, Jack Pauhl replied.

Mail-in voting has already eliminated polling stations, so Intelivote would make no difference in that respect; however Pauhl noted that Intelivote would be a problem for people who don’t have touch tone phones. Councillor Louise Scott confirmed that she knows residents who still have rotary phones. Pauhl suggested that voters could use the township’s CAP sites.

No municipalities in Ontario have yet adopted Intelivote, but Pauhl said that South Frontenac and Madawaska Valley are considering the system. Pauhl is also investigating another alternate voting system, about which he will present a report at a future meeting. Council will have to make a decision no later than August.

WIND POWER: The engineering firm Conestoga Rovers has compiled a list of about 50 landowners in Addington Highlands whose properties are in higher wind areas and may be suitable for wind power generation. Conestoga Rovers will be contacting these people, and Council voted to draft a joint letter with Conestoga Rovers to mail to the landowners. An information package on wind power generation will accompany the letters. Jack Pauhl commented that an amendment to the Official Plan might be needed to establish wind farms.

AUDIBLE PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL (APS): Work on the Northbrook stoplight is expected to begin after Labour Day. Addington Highlands asked the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to install an Audible Pedestrian Signal with the stoplight and the ministry agreed to do so - provided Addington Highlands meets one condition: the township must provide training for visually impaired residents in using the signal. MTO is concerned about pedestrians being injured if they don’t know how to use the APS. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in Kingston is fully funded to provide training to people who are its clients; however the township would have to pay the CNIB to come up to Northbrook to train people who are not visually impaired enough to be CNIB clients, but who would nevertheless need to use the APS. The cost to the township would be about $425, and council voted to go ahead with the CNIB training.

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