By Chad Ingram
The 2022 Minden Hills municipal election will allow residents to vote by telephone, internet or paper ballot, as was the case during the last municipal election in 2018.
During an April 29 online meeting, township councillors received a staff report about voting options for the 2022 election. The report indicated that the clerks of the county’s four lower-tier municipalities had been having joint discussions regarding the next election, and that they would be recommending telephone and internet voting to each of their respective councils. Minden Hills is the only one of the four municipalities that has previously used internet voting.
For the 2018 election, 71.8 per cent of voters used an electronic method, while 28.2 per cent used a traditional paper ballot.
“Obviously, internet voting is not new to us,” said Mayor Brent Devolin, adding that if there were going to be no paper ballots, then there should be an opportunity for those without internet access to use some kind of voting portal.
Councillor Bob Carter said he was hesitant to do away with paper ballots all together.
“I voted using the electronic method and found it was easy, felt it was safe, secure, the whole works,” Carter said.”I have a real problem with us abandoning the paper ballot.”
Carter said he imagined that many of the residents who used paper ballots were probably some of the township’s older residents.
“I think that in a lot of cases, these people have been using that paper ballot for virtually all of their life, and I don’t see why we should take that away from them at this point,” he said. “ … I think the ability to have the internet and telephone voting, plus the paper ballot, all it needs is adding up three numbers, at the end … I don’t really see a downside to allowing for it. It is a little bit more money, but I don’t want to disenfranchise … people from voting.”
Other councillors agreed, and the township will again provide the three voting methods for residents to choose from. The cost to provide all three methods in previous elections has totalled approximately $60,000.