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Association of Manitoba Municipalities wanting online voting available in Manitoba

Voters in Winnipeg can start placing their mark on a ballot as advance voting is underway.

But unlike several civic elections in the province next door, voters here will be showing up in person.

With the exception of those using a mail-in ballot, most people making their choice for mayor, councillor, and school trustee have to physically attend a polling station.

This is not necessarily the case in several Ontario communities.

Of the 414 civic elections this year in Ontario, 217 will have voting online, on the phone or a combination of both options. That’s up from 175 in 2018.

Denys Volkov with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities says it, along with the Manitoba School Boards Association, has been lobbying the Province of Manitoba to make changes in legislation, that would allow for online voting, or at the very least a trial to test the technology.

“That would make it easier for everybody, for election staff, for voters, and also for candidates,” said Volkov.

Winnipeg’s Senior Election Official Marc Lemoine says if legislation allowed for this, the city would likely be an early adopter of the technology.

“Certainly we’re going to take advantage of every type of opportunity to make things easier to vote for citizens,” said Lemoine.

A 2017 federal report says the benefits of E-voting include convenience, a modest increase in voter turnout, fewer ballot errors, and increased efficiency. The downsides include barriers for those who aren’t tech literate, possibilities for fraud, coercion, and security threats, and issues around ballot secrecy.

Aleksander Essex is an associate professor of software engineering at Western University who studies the issue.

“We are finding things that are not ideal in terms of third-party internet providers or even the company themselves, knowing how you voted,” said Essex.

It appears the province is not looking at making any changes. In a statement, a provincial spokesperson says through the current system, checks are made by trained election officials confirming voter identity.

“A sealed and private ballot process has proven over time to be effective in ensuring fair and secure election processes.”

At the provincial election level, Elections Manitoba tells CTV News, it monitors what's happening with online voting in other jurisdictions, but it is not working on this for provincial elections. Top Stories

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