We use it for banking and buying stuff and, in a few short years, we could be using the Internet to pick our politicians. The province has asked Elections BC to appoint an independent panel to look at the possibility of online voting for both municipal and provincial elections.
Locally, the reaction to the idea from top civic politicians in the Tri-Cities was mixed.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he sees online voting as an opportunity to engage the public in a way that will encourage more people to vote.
"This next generation doesn't know what a phone book is," he told The NOW. "They perceive the online world in a way in which previous generations couldn't conceive."
Stewart said in order to engage the "next generation," governments need to be where they are, which is online.
He also pointed out the discussion isn't about getting rid of the traditional ballot, adding he wants voters to have the option to mark an X at a polling site.
No matter what the panel decides, Stewart believes online voting in elections is inevitable, also suggesting the debate in a decade will be whether a paper ballot is still necessary.
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay agrees with the inevitability of online voting, but isn't convinced the public is ready to buy into the idea just yet.
Though he supports the panel's discussion, he sees a number of issues with offering voting through the Internet.
Clay argued the easier it is for people to vote, the less compelled they'll be to get informed.
"It won't compel people to become more involved. It will just make it easier for them to vote without getting better educated," he said, adding he's more interested in finding ways to get more people involved in the process.
Voter turnout in civic elections is notoriously low.
The turnout for elections in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody was 21 per cent, 18 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.
Clay suggested online voting may drive the numbers up the first time as a novelty, but isn't convinced it will solve low voter turnout. He said the irony is the discussion will be had amongst people who are already engaged in the political process, and he doubts the panel will hear a lot from people who don't vote.
PoCo Mayor Greg Moore said he sees both pros and cons to the idea. He suggested if voter turnout can increase by making it easier to vote, he sees it as a positive.
Moore also contends online voting could make it easier for people with mobility issues to vote. However, he's still taking a cautious approach to the technology that would be used to administer the election.
Moore said he's not sure if the Internet would really drive voting numbers up, arguing it's not a big effort to get out and vote anyway. He also added he would want to see online voting for both provincial and federal elections.
"If it's good for one order of government, it should be good for all orders of government," Moore said.
All three mayors indicated they are interested in seeing the findings of the independent panel, which is set to review best practices from other jurisdictions and identify possible technological or logistical barriers.
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