#ElectronicVotingMachinesinElectionsOntario, #e-Poll Book, #CaraDesGranges, #GregEssensa,
Ottawa, May 10 (Canadian-Media) : According to Elections Ontario, the new technology of using electronic voting machines & voter lists, for the first time in June 7 provincial elections, would help speed up both the voting and ballot-counting process, media reports said.
The voters’ paper lists in most of the past ridings in Ontario would reportedly be replaced by an electronic version called e-Poll Book.
Upon arrival of a voter at the polling booth, a machine will scan voter’s notice of registration card.
The voter would then be handed the ballot form by an official to be filled and return it back to the official who would put it through the tabulating machine.
According to an Elections Ontario report that examined the byelection in the Whitby-Oshawa riding on the Feb. 11, 2016 byelection, the new machine was able to count the ballots in 30 minutes, whereas the manual counting of the votes by hand took the 90 minutes.
“We’re hoping this will be much more efficient for the voter,” said Cara Des Granges, who provides strategic policy and communications advice to executives and organizations. “Getting results should be faster and the technology is proven to be more reliable than tabulating votes by hand.”
The report also said the new technology would help with another election issue of staffing.
“Elections Ontario is increasingly unable to find the required number of polling officials,” wrote Greg Essensa, the province’s Chief Electoral Officer in the byelection report, titled “Proposal for a technology-enabled staffing model for Ontario provincial elections.”
Elections Ontario estimated it would need about half of the polling officials working on election day compared to 2014, Des Granges said.
But the new technology is not without problems.
Some e-Poll Books showed connectivity issues which necessitated the staff to revert to the paper lists.
Sometimes some of the scanners didn’t work, and this could not be resolved by the staff.
As a result the machines will be in about 50 percent of the voting locations, but will serve 90 percent of the electorate.
The agency said another reason to switch to machines is time-driven.
“The public has an expectation as a modern society to expect modern services and this is what we’re trying to do,” Des Granges said.