[nSLUG] HRM wants to try online voting

Jeff Warnica jeffw at chebucto.ns.ca
Tue Jan 13 21:15:42 AST 2004

Well, at least one councillor anyway.

In todays Daily News there is a (short, it is the Daily News...) report
on one HRM Councillor who wants the city to go for an online election.
It points out that a recent act was passed by the province that allows
for municipalities to try "alternate" election methods.

I encourage all of you to write to your respective councillor and voice
an opinion, whatever it is. Not email. Dead tree style.

Personally, given that HRM IT people seem incapable of running pdf2html
on their bus schedules, I doubt that they could pull off an online
election "in house". Unlikely that they would try, but "sending it to
staff to investigate" (which is standard fair for HRM) will not return
particularly competent opinions.

But assuming it could be done inhouse, or outsourced, there are
obviously issues about the quality of the systems that they will use.
Elections should be both authenticated and anonymous, transparent, and

The current (paper) system can be understood by anyone. I don't think
any kind of automated system could be made simple enough to be
understood by just anyone... The standard that (should) applies to
patents might be more reasonable: the system should be understandable by
people leaned in that field.

While I will encourage the city to try and use an Open Source solution,
I know of none that currently exists. Open source or not, I will be
asking the city that any solution being offered have the source made
available to be audited by at least 2 independent people of the cities
choosing... OSS shouldn't get a free ride just because someone /could/
audit it, an audit should happen, guaranteeing that someone actually
/did/ look at it. OSS projects obviously have nothing to hide, and it
may be difficult to find a combination of closed source companies
willing to "show their cards" even under NDAs, and consultants willing
to sign such NDA (and thus loose their "virginity").

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