Last night at council, the decision was made in regards to the voting method for the 2018 municipal election. Council went forward and adopted on a vote of 7-2 ( Councillor Thom and Pirri opposed) to implement a hybrid method for the 2018 election. In addition to the traditional paper ballots and tabulators, there will be online voting in the next election. What this means then is that for advance voting while there will be traditional stations set up with both tabulators and tablets/computers, residents will be able to vote online from wherever they are. I understand that some people feel there are risks involved with online voting. And indeed there are risks. But there are risks with all methods of voting. No system is 100% secure – tabulators for example are subject to fraud and at risk of being compromised. There will never be a 100% secure system. Just as the technology gets better and security measures get better, so do those that look at compromising the system. The Election staff and the Election Officer work to ensure that those risks are mitigated so as to ensure that the elections are fair and valid. In Ontario there has never been an instance where an election has been compromised due to hackers or any other form of intrusion. Thus, for 2018, Aurora will adopt a hybrid voting method. Voters will now have the option – for the advanced voting only – of voting online. On Election Day, however, the regular tabulators will be set up at the same poll locations as in past elections. This will allow Aurora to ease into online voting and potentially work our way towards a total online system. I think this is great news for Aurora and all our residents. With the adoption of the option of online voting, now those that have accessibility issues, as well as seniors that might not be able to make it out to traditional polling stations will be able to vote. As well as collage or university students that can’t make it home for election day. Online voting will give those disenfranchised voters the opportunity to exercise their democratic right. I am looking forward to the 2018 election and online voting..
I did want to speak about one other item that was on the agenda and that was the memo from the Region in regards to adding an additional seat at Regional Council for the City of Vaughan. The motion before Council which was moved by Mayor Dawe, was to consent to have Vaughn go from 4 seats to 5 seats, or add an additional representative for the City of Vaughan. I could not support this recommendation as I feel that the Region needs to look at municipal representation on Regional Council as a whole, and not just one municipality. As I stated at the table, I was disappointed that there was no mention of Aurora receiving another seat. Aurora currently has just one seat – one representative on Regional Council. The smaller municipalities in the north – Aurora, King, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and East Gwillimbury have just one representative each while the larger municipalities – in particular Vaughan(4), Richmond Hill(3), and Markham(5) are well represented with multiple seats on the Council. We need our views to be heard at that table and it is difficult when we have just one lone voice to speak on our behalf. I believe there needs to be a stronger push to advocate for either an additional seat on Regional Council or we should consider other governance options. The motion to support adding an additional seat for the City of Vaughan failed 6-3 (Councillor Abel, Thom and Mayor Dawe in favour).