Federal Election Does It The Old-Fashioned Way - Hand Counting One Ballot At A Time

It's nice to see that at least the Federal elections like to stick to the tried-and-true process of counting ballots - by hand, and one ballot at a time!

Here, Robert Kirwan casts his vote during the Federal Elections on January 23, 2006. His ballot was entered at Pole #71, which was the responsibility of Deputy Returning Officer, Ray Sanche, and Poll Clerk, Irene Fielding.

Both Ray and Irene stayed at the Polling station from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. when the polls closed. Then they had to count the ballots in the presence of scrutineers and report the results.

Municipal elections in Sudbury will be done electronically with voting scanners - a method which resulted in some controversy during the 2003 elections.

THE JOHN ROBERT ISSUE

In what has become known as the John Robert issue, the question of whether or not electronic voting is the best option for the municipality is still up in the air.

During the 2003 elections, John Robert lost in his quest for a seat in Ward 4 to Andre Rivest by approximately 33 votes. Under the "old system" an automatic recount would have been held. However, under the "new system", City Council had the responsibility to determine if a recount was in order. Since a recount had to be done in the same way as the original vote, namely by electronic machines, the focus was rather on the reliability of the machines instead of on whether or not the "intent of the voters" was properly tabulated.

After extensive legal challenges, during which one judge severely criticized the decisions of the City Council, John Robert was forced to abandon his fight and the matter never was resolved.

Once again, in November 2006, voters will be forced to use electronic machines and once again the question of whether or not the integrity of the voting is being adhered to will come up. Apparently there is no difference in cost by doing the counting manually. The only advantage of using the machines is that it is not as hard on staff and the results are known earlier in the evening. Some question whether the potential sacrificing of the integrity of the election is worth the savings of time.

 

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COMMENTS FROM READERS:
  
I do not trust electronic voting and was glad to see that the Federal government realized the in this case the tried and true method of voting was the way to go.  As usual, municipal government has absolutely no respect for the wishes of the population and we will be forced to comply with it's dictate.  If it was good enough for the federal government it should be good enough for the municipal government.
 
M.Wright
 
 

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