The post-Etobicoke Centre future of elections

by Aaron Wherry

Stephen Thiele and Gavin Tighe, Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyers, consider the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decisions.

In today’s modern era where most people have access to computers and telephones, it no longer makes sense to rely on a purely paper-based system of voting and record-keeping. Voting over the Internet utilizing a secure pin number already exists and has been adopted by various organizations without complaint. Such a system would eliminate, among other things, the need for the completion of a paper “Registration Certificate” for unregistered electors, do away with “vouching” in order for an elector to prove his or her identity, and possibly eliminate the need to show up at a polling station at all.

Such a system may also make voting more convenient and thus “enfranchise” more voters by making it easier for electors to vote in elections. Accordingly, we hope that the decision of the Court may have some unintended positive consequences for electoral reform. A system not unlike that used by the Canada Revenue Agency in the filing of tax returns could be envisaged for the operation of elections.

See previously: Accepting imperfection




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The post-Etobicoke Centre future of elections

  1. Hacking. Power outages.

  2. Intimidation. Goons looking over your shoulder in an electronic voting-mill, making sure you vote correctly.

  3. Let’s not throw out the baby and keep the bath water. There are advance polls for several days. Election Day polls themselves are within easy walking distance for a majority of Electors and open from 8 am to 8 p.m. It’s not inconvenience that’s the problem.

  4. A “secret ballot” must not only be secret, but must be seen to be secret, and a non-coerced vote.

    These guys are idiots. They are arguing against a secret ballot, which is critical to a free democratic election.

    The necessity of a “secret ballot” trumps convenience.

  5. Electronic voting has a ton of problems, some of which are pointed out by those above, but the primary problem, in my view, is how can you ensure a voter knows that the vote they entered is counted in favor of the candidate they voted for, while at the same time keeping who they voted for a secret.

    Physical voting methods provide assurances that their vote cannot be changed until it is counted under the watchful eye of candidate scrutineers (assuming none of a candidate’s team attempts to steal a ballot box). Electronic voting methods provide no such methods unless people are willing to be able to have their vote tracked and identifiable back to them.

    Sure they’ll work for smaller organizations where not so much hangs on the results, but not for choosing the leadership of a democratic society.

  6. “A system not unlike that used by the Canada Revenue Agency in the filing of tax returns could be envisaged for the operation of elections” — Right, because nobody has ever cheated on their taxes in Canada.

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