- What’s Internet voting?
Internet voting is the term used for the process of casting a vote on an electronic ballot through the internet.
During the advanced voting period for the 2014 Municipal Election in Guelph, residents will be able to cast their ballot online from October 7 to 24.
- When can I register to vote online?
In order to vote online, voters will need to be on the voter’s list and will have to register to vote online. Voters will be able to register to vote online and vote starting at 12:01 am on October 7, 2014 and will end on October 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm.
- Will offering Internet voting increase voter participation?
Internet voting can increase voter participation over the long-term. In the short-term, it offers the greatest likelihood of all voting channels to engage underrepresented groups within the electorate.
- Is Internet voting complicated?
No. Internet voting is designed for electors with a basic understanding of how to use web browsers and e-mail on computers, tablets and cell phones.
Those who are not comfortable using an electronic device to vote, can cast their paper ballot at a voting place as they have done in the past, either during the advance voting period or on voting day—Monday, October 27, 2014.
- Do Guelph residents support Internet voting?
Yes, Guelph residents support Internet voting. The City recently polled 600 Guelph residents who are eligible to vote to see how they feel about Internet voting. Here are a few highlights:
- 62 per cent Guelph electors’ agree they would feel confident casting their vote online
- 56 per cent agreed if Internet voting were available they would vote in the municipal elections
- More Guelph electors (48 per cent) agree they would most likely vote by remote Internet in the 2014 Municipal Election, if offered by the City, compared to 40 per cent who would most likely vote by paper ballot
- How much will Internet voting cost?
If the use of Internet voting is approved for the 2014 election, the City will issue a request for proposals to source the most competitive bid. It’s estimated that the price can range from $50,000 to $90,000. These funds are available through the City’s existing election reserve, so new funds will not be required to support Internet voting.
- What are the risks of Internet voting?
The most common concerns with Internet voting are associated with system security, specifically, protecting against external tampering, voter privacy and coercion, user authentication such as validating identity, and cost.
- What security measures will the City put in place?
Technical security measures such as using firewalls, user authentication practices, failover connectivity and server redundancy will all be in place. Robust process-related controls will also be established along with a comprehensive testing program designed to audit every stage of deployment to ensure the integrity of the system is upheld.
- Why doesn’t Guelph offer vote-by-mail or telephone voting as an alternative voting option?
Internet voting provides the best value when compared to other alternative voting methods, particularly vote-by-mail. Internet voting is also viewed as the best compliment to traditional voting in larger, urban municipalities. Further, when Guelph electors’ weighed in during a recent telephone survey, only eight per cent indicated that they would vote by telephone, if it were available.
- Does Internet voting comply with the requirements of the Ontario Municipal Elections Act?
Yes. Most notably it complies with the Municipal Elections Act by making the election accessible to all voters.
- Can I still vote at my local voting place?
Yes. The City is proposing the use of Internet voting as an optional alternative to voting places during the advance voting period. As always, traditional voting places will also be open to voters during this time.
- Why propose Internet voting as only an advance voting option?
Offering Internet voting only during the advance voting period, allows an opportunity to see how this voting method impacts the administration of the election as well as voter participation before investing more significantly in additional technology.
- Are other municipalities using it?
Approximately 44 municipalities in Ontario used Internet voting in 2010, either as a complementary voting method or as the sole channel of voting. It has been estimated that upwards of 80 to 100 municipalities in Ontario may use Internet voting in 2014.
- What information will I need to register for Internet voting?
Before you can register you will need to be on the voters’ list and you will also need to have a voter ID which is a unique multiple digit number provided by the City that is uniquely assigned to each voter.
- What is my voter ID?
To register to vote online, you will need to have a voter ID which is a unique multiple digit number provided by the City that is uniquely assigned to each voter. This voter ID is one of many ways we are ensuring secure access to the Internet voting system.
Voters will need their voter ID to register to vote online and will need both their voter ID and their voter PIN when they login to cast their ballot online.
- How do I get my voter ID?
Voters who are on the voters’ list by mid-September will receive their voter ID on their voter notification card.
Voters who add themselves to the voters’ list from the beginning of September until Election Day, on October 27, will also be asked to provide their email address so that they can receive their voter ID by email.
- What if I do not receive/have my voter notification card?
A voter who is added to the list after the voter notification cards go out or misplaces their card will be able to contact the Clerk's Office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 519-837-5625 to get their voter ID.
- How do I register for internet voting?
Starting on October 7, 2014, voters wanting to register to vote online will need to:
- go to the guelph.ca/vote website and click on the link in the internet voting section;
- click the "register" button on the main internet voting webpage;
- enter their voter ID, as well as, their first and last name as it appears on the voters' list;
- complete a CAPTCHA challenge;
- enter information unique to the voter, such as their birth date;
- set up a unique secret question and answer; and
- input a personal email address so that a confirmation email can be sent containing a link for them to retrieve their voter PIN.
- What is my voter PIN?
Your voter PIN is a unique code generated by the City’s internet voting provider. This is used to provide a second level of security, in addition to the voter ID, when the registered internet voter accesses the internet voting site to cast their ballot.
Voters will need both their voter ID and their voter PIN when they login to cast their ballot online.
- How do I get my voter PIN?
When you submit your registration, if you provided your email address, you will receive an email confirming that you are registered to vote using the Internet voting system and the email will contain a link for you to access your voter PIN.
When you click on the link in the confirmation email you will be taken to a secure website and will be asked to confirm information, including your voter ID, to receive your voter PIN. Once the PIN is received, you will need to write it down and have it available when you login to cast your vote online.
If you misplace your voter PIN and you still have your confirmation email, you can get a replacement PIN by clicking on the link in the email and re-entering the required information. A new voter PIN will automatically be created for you. If you have deleted your confirmation email you can contact the Clerk’s Office election support line at 519-837-5625 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to have the email with the link to your PIN re-sent. Once you have your new PIN, your previous voter PIN will be de-activated and will no longer work.
- How do I vote online?
To cast your vote online you will need to already be on the voter’s list and have completed your Internet voting registration. You will need to have both your voter ID and voter PIN to login to vote online.
Voters will only be able to cast their ballot using the Internet voting system during the advanced voting period, from 12:01 am on October 7, 2014 to 11:59 pm on October 24, 2014.
To vote you will:
- go to the guelph.ca/vote website and click on the link in the Internet voting section;
- click the "vote" button on the main Internet voting webpage;
- enter your voter ID and your PIN;
- complete a CAPTCHA challenge;
- accept or decline the mandatory "Declaration of Qualification and Acknowledgement of Offences Statement";
- be prompted to move from one voting screen to the next until all offices have been voted, with only one (1) office appearing per voting screen.
Once you have cast your ballot, the Internet voting system will confirm that your vote has been successfully cast and you will be struck off of the voters' list.
- Can I under-vote or cast a blank ballot online?
A blank ballot occurs when a voter chooses to cast their ballot without selecting any candidates for any of the offices on the ballot.
An under-vote occurs when a voter selects fewer candidates for an office than are indicated as allowed on the ballot.
A voter will be allowed to under-vote any office and will be able to cast a blank ballot if they choose. The voter will be prompted by the Internet voting system if fewer than allowable or no candidates have been selected for any office. The voter will have the option to go back and correct an under-vote or blank ballot or cast their ballot as it is.
- Can I over-vote a ballot online?
An over-vote occurs when a voter selects more candidates for an office than are indicated as allowed on the ballot.
A voter will receive a warning if they have chosen more than the allowable number of candidates for an office. Voters will have an opportunity to review their ballot before submitting it and can choose to correct the over-vote or can continue to cast their ballot. A ballot with an over-vote will be accepted, however, any over-voted office will not be counted and tallied as part of the election results.
- What happens if I have a technical disruption while voting online?
If at any time during the Internet voting process there is a disruption of service or the system times out, you will be able to re-enter the system to cast your vote. When you re-enter the Internet voting system you will receive a new blank ballot to mark your candidate selections.
If a problem persists, the voter can contact the City’s election support line at 519-837-5625 or email email@example.com to notify staff of the issue.
- What computer platforms and devices will Internet voting work with?
The Internet voting system has been tested and functions with all current commercial web browsers, smartphones and tablet devices including:
- Internet Explorer 8+,
Desktop and mobile platforms:
- PCs (Windows, Linux)
- MACs (OS X)
- Android Devices (Android OS)
- Apple Devices (iOS)
- Windows Phone (Windows Phone OS)
- Blackberry Devices (OS 9, OS 10)
- If I have an older computer will I still be able to vote online?
As long as your computer is a PC or a MAC and has an updated Internet browser you will be able to use Internet voting. The browsers that the Internet voting system works with include Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
- If I have trouble registering or voting online who do I contact?
If a voter encounters an issue during the registration process or when casting their ballot online, they can contact the City’s election support line by phone at 519-837-5625 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be responded to by the end of the next business day, from the time that the City receives it, until the last date of the advance Internet voting period, October 24, 2014.
- Is Internet voting accessible?
Yes, Internet voting was chosen to ensure that all voters have an opportunity to cast their vote using an accessible and convenient method.
The Internet voting system has been designed with the needs of voters with disabilities in mind and is compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
With Internet voting, voters will be able to cast their ballot on any mobile device and in the comfort of their own home. Voters will be able to use any common assistive technology software when they are voting online. The Internet voting system works with a variety of assistive software including screen readers, such as JAWS, NVDA or VoiceOver, screen magnification software, such as ZoomText, voice dictation software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and onscreen keyboards.
The Internet voting system does require voters to complete a CAPTCHA challenge for security reasons. The system also allows a voter to complete the CAPTCHA challenge using an audio read out if they prefer this to the way the standard CAPTCHA challenge is presented.
- What are the advantages of Internet voting?
The most common advantages of Internet voting are that it provides:
- greater accessibility to more voters
- an option for some voters with disabilities to privately cast a ballot (not always possible in traditional voting places)
- a convenient alternative to voting proxies for students, seniors and vacationers
- faster and more accurate results on voting day
- a “green” (paperless) voting option
- Why is it less risky than the other alternative methods considered?
Internet voting is better at verifying voter intent, which means controls can be established to prohibit a voter from unintentionally spoiling a ballot. This mirrors what we have been able to do at voting places with the vote scanners/tabulators.
Whereas Vote-by-mail methods do not have the capability to fully verify voter intent, and they require completed ballots to be returned through the mail.
The risk involved with telephone voting isn’t about security but rather losing voters through the voting process before having completed their ballots. Municipal ballots are often lengthy and require voters to navigate through a 20 minute long audio ballot.