Use internet to increase voting

While Grand Forks' 2011 civic election is history, two recently-released reports revisit the subject of voting.

The elections have passed and the new Grand Forks city council, School District 51 board of trustees and board of directors for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary have all had meetings already.

However, a pair of recently-released reports revisits the recent municipal elections.

2011 City of Grand Forks Chief Elections Officer Diane Heinrich released her report for the 2011 local general election a few weeks ago and said that about 200 less voters turned out to the polls in mid-November versus the election in 2008.

Estimates from civicinfo.bc.ca indicated that only 38.6 of eligible voters took the time to vote on either general election day or any of the advance polls, although with numbers from the city, it could be closer to about 39.6 per cent. In comparison, numbers from civicinfo.bc.ca indicated that 51.8 per cent of people in the Village of Midway voted while an astounding 69.8 per cent of people from the city down Highway 3, Greenwood, cast their ballots this past election.

Midway is said to have a population of 621 and Greenwood, which is billed as Canada’s smallest city, is said to have 676 residents.

The City of Grand Forks has an estimated population of about 4,000, at least as of the 2006 census, and yet both Midway and Greenwood had higher voter turnout.

Elections BC Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer also released a report recently – on recommendations for legislative change – and in it he recommended a number of ways to increase voter turnout, including stimulating an increase of voting amongst the youth and trying out new technology.

Online voting is mentioned in Archer’s report and it is definitely a way that can add to the number of ballots cast.

Currently, online voting is not allowed but in an age where people are constantly seeking an easier way to go about their day wouldn’t it be the way to go?

It wouldn’t only make it easier for able-bodied residents to cast their vote but it would be beneficial to shut-ins and the disabled as well.

Of course, there would have to be a lot of testing to be done and knowing the way new technology can be, there will more than likely be growing pains but the good news is, there is about three years to test it out and work out the kinks.