The next time we vote in a Barrie mayor, we could be able to do it in our underwear.
City council voted on Monday night to allow the use of Internet and telephone voting for the next municipal election. This would be on top of in-person voting, as the City plans to continue offering a “vote anywhere” model that allows an elector to vote anywhere in the city, not just in their ward.
About 200 municipalities out of the 444 in Ontario opted to use Internet and telephone voting in the last municipal election in 2018, including Innisfil, New Tecumseth, and Newmarket. Barrie staff indicate many of the municipalities that use Internet and telephone voting have seen a slight increase in overall voter turnout.
Monday evening’s vote comes with the stipulation that an external auditor performs a check on the systems to be put in place, to not only ensure security but also to try and avoid any digital snags. During the 2018 municipal election, a problem with an Internet Voting Provider’s server caused a 90-minute delay on the final Voting Day.
The next municipal elections will be held in October of 2022. A final ratifying vote on Internet and telephone voting is expected at City Hall’s next meeting, in three weeks’ time.