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Niagara-on-the-Lake rejects Internet voting plan

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Voters in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario will still head to the polls in October to vote rather than pull out their smart phones or laptops. Some votes may have switched Monday night as councilors debated a plan to head towards voting on the Web this fall. There would have been two-regular polling places but most voters would have used their computer systems.

Councilors were asked to go through a request-for-proposals plan with prospective operators of the system coming in to explain what they might do and then there would be a final decision.

Councilor Jamie King says he worries about security.       

"There are lots of benefits to internet voting. One of them being access which is something I think we all care about deeply," King said.

"But, from my perspective, the challenge relates to security and specifically security related to voter authentication. So, I'm not confident that we have a process by which we can identify and properly audit the voting process."

Town officials are concerned about declining citizen participation in elections, even in a relatively small town like Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Town officials say they would have saved a considerable amount of money because the election would have been run by the computer company and the planned two live voting sites would have been run by town employees.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.