Referendums + Quality Candidates > Online Voting

If leaders want to see an increase in voter turnout, online voting is not the answer. More people vote when there is a vital issue being faced, or a battle of high quality candidates. Online voting does not increase voter turnout.

The six mayors and wardens making up Pictou — Westville, Trenton, Stellarton, New Glasgow, the Town of Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County – lost an opportunity this past municipal election. They could have brought the question of amalgamation to a vote. That could have increased voter turnout to (recent) record levels.

There are still six recreation departments, six town halls and six administrative budgets in Pictou. Governance issues aside, shared services could include policing – Westville and Stellerton have their own forces.

Instead of a democratic vote on amalgamation, there will be more squabbling, as some mayors want to study the issue again, while others (Westville and Stellerton) are unwilling to pay their fair share – hoping the province will pick up the entire tab.

Online voting is nothing more than an extra convenience for people who already vote. And the risks of online voting, as the media reported, mean people are disenfranchised: stolen PINs, voters who did not notice the website’s ‘submit’ button, and employers who ask their employees to vote at work.

Forget online voting. Attract more qualified candidates and think about the community’s issues instead.