Town clerk seeks Intelivote meeting on electronic voting delay in Mississippi Mills.
Ramsay Ward Councillor James Lowry is asking that the final bill from Intelivote, which provided the software for the electronic voting for last month’s municipal election, be reduced because the system became overloaded on voting day.
MILLS – Mississippi Mills’ town clerk will be asking Intelivote some frank questions
about why there were problems with the voting system on election day. “We’re
all going to sit down with Intelivote…and ask some hard questions,” said Cindy
Halcrow, the town’s clerk, during an interview the day after the municipal
election. “We sympathize with the voters. By and large, most people were very
About 34 other municipalities in Ontario use the system provided by the
company, Intelivote Systems Inc., and Halcrow was in the process of trying to
set up a meeting with them.
The system was overwhelmed by the late rush of people trying
to cast their ballots.
As of 9:05 a.m. on Oct. 25, 3,686 people had voted in
Mississippi Mills. By the time the polls finally closed an hour later than
scheduled at 9 p.m., a total of 5,296 people had voted, meaning that 1,610
people waited until election day to vote. Overall, voter turnout stood at 54.4
per cent for this year.
The decision to extending voting by an hour was made shortly
after 7:30 p.m. on voting day, in consultation with other local municipalities
also were experiencing difficulties with the system. Other areas that chose to
extend voting by an hour included Tay Valley and Montague
Townships. The Town of Arnprior also uses the
same system, but they extended their voting period by a full day, until 8 p.m.
on Oct. 26.
“We extended it by an hour. They extended it by a day,” said
When asked if staggered voting should be implemented in the
next election to prevent the system from being overwhelmed, Halcrow responded
that the town had done all it could, with a week-long voting period being
offered, from Oct. 18 to 25. There were voter helps centres open on election
day and beforehand at the municipal offices, in Almonte and Pakenham.
“I think that that is sufficient,” said Halcrow, though she
urged voters, in future, “to avoid peak hours (and) vote early. On the
computer, you don’t expect to wait,” while lineups at a traditional poll are
On the whole, however, Halcrow said that she was happy with
how people took to online voting.
“Voters were generally very happy with voting with the Internet,”
Other voters, and even candidates, however, were not happy
with the electronic voting.
Ramsay Ward Coun. James Lowry expressed his frustration at
the system, which he said he had been opposed to from the beginning.
“I’d like to congratulate the councillors that got elected,”
said Lowry at the Mississippi Mills town council’s committee-of-the-whole
meeting on Monday, Nov. 1.
He added that because of “the failure of the system,” some
people were not able to vote. He recounted the story of one married couple,
where the husband was able to vote but the wife was unsuccessful in her
attempts to vote.
“My predictions were right,” said Lowry. “I think that
whatever the (Intelivote) bill is, they should knock a hunk off of it because
it (the system) didn’t work.”
Lowry was unsuccessful in his re-election attempt in the
Oct. 25 municipal election.