By Nicole Feriancek
THE DIGBY COURIER
For voters in the town of Digby, scratching an “X” on a paper ballot is now a thing of the past.
For the first time ever, all votes for the town council election will be taken electronically—either by telephone or online via a computer or smartphone.
“There’s absolutely no paper whatsoever,” says Susan Rice, returning officer for the municipal elections in the town of Digby. “Everything is electronic. Even if people come into the polling stations, there is an electronic voting booth.”
Voters in the Municipality of the District of Digby can vote electronically, or by the traditional paper ballot method.
There will only be one polling station in each district, so some people who want to visit the polling station may have to travel further than in the last election.
Andy Moir, the returning officer for the municipal elections in the Municipality of the District of Digby is confident the new electronic system will be a success.
“Every place that has tried this, voter turnout has increased,” he says. “It’s shockingly easy.”
There are two ways to e-vote—by telephone or online on a computer or smartphone.
“You can use touch tone telephone to call in, push in the PIN you received in the mail, and the program will automatically know what district you’re in,” says Moir. “The names on the candidates are on the back of the voter letters. You pick one of them, press the pound button and then confirm your vote.”
To vote online – simply go to the town of Digby’s website, and click on the link that says “Intellivote,” and follow the instructions.
Intellivote has provided how-to videos for both methods and they are available online at www.digby.ca. Intellivote is the Nova Scotian company administering the e-vote for Digby and a handful of other municipalities and towns in the province.
The system will also automatically know if you can vote in the school board election, and if so give you the options for your district. In some districts, there is no race, as there is only one person running for the position.
Eugenia Hodges, a voter from Weymouth Falls, thinks e-voting will be beneficial.
“I think it’s great for some people that can’t get out of the house, like my sister,” she says. “A lot of people used to have to vote by proxy, but now they can do it themselves, online.”
Both Moir and Rice agree the system will be popular because of the convenience. People can vote 24/7, from home or on the road, during the week-long voting period running Friday, Oct. 12 to Saturday, Oct. 19.
“The excuses for not voting are running out,” says Moir.
Susan Rice says during the e-voting period, daily statistics will be released tracking what percentage of the town has voted.
Oct. 20 is the final voting day, and Rice will announce the winners that evening.
“Within ten minutes we should have the results,” she says. “It really is kind of exciting, we’re going to get to see how many people vote, where they’re voting from and we will get all this information right away.”
Results will be slower in the municipality depending on how many people vote by paper ballot.