Canadians: you have until Oct 7 to weigh in on using voting machines in national elections

Originally published at:


Ireland chose not to use electronic voting machines when the US tried to sell them on it - the “change X% of votes to Republican” feature doesn’t mean the same thing over there.

Any voting machine that doesn’t provide an auditable paper record is a threat to voting safety. But there are other problems with them - for instance, in Columbus Ohio in 2004, many of the poor black precincts didn’t have all the parts they needed to get most of their voting machines running, leading to two-hour-long lines of people waiting to vote. White suburban precincts that had Republican majorities got plenty of working machines.


You need to remember that this proposal is for Canada, not the 'States. Those impediments to voting that occurs all over the place in the USA are almost completely unheard of in Canada.

Aside from, y’know, having enough polling places and enough people staffing them, when there’s an election (even a by-election) the law mandates a four-hour window for time to vote. If that four-hour window cuts into your workday, you get a few paid hours off work. Also, props for Canada having nation- and province-wide election officers.

That said, voting machines have been used in New Brunswick, always with paper trails. The vote is recorded on a sheet of paper and the voter feeds the sheet (hidden by a half-envelope) in the machine while being watched by a poll station employee.

The/My main concern here is online voting. Bad idea.

1 Like

I could see voting machines possibly being a reasonable idea if (and only if) all of the hardware and all of the software is fully open-sourced and available for review long before any uses in elections.

As it stands, they are the most terrible option available given the opportunities for voting fraud with the hilariously insecure options that have been rolled out in the past. (windows XP with wifi and a hard-coded wifi access password anyone? :wink: )

Fully open-sourced may be doable, if not the old-fashioned paper option is far superior.

Or, you know, not.


Don’t do what New Jersey did and force the voter to accept the machine’s choices if the voter has failed twice to make the machine record the voter’s choices.

I did say “almost completely unheard of”. And you still get those four hours off to vote.

And most importantly: we threw the bums out!

/ remember when the PCs were reduced to two seats after Mulroney? Good times.

I feel like we are failing to meet the high standards for electoral fraud set by our southern neighbors.

Perhaps this is the tool that could get us there…

For more information about the issues with online voting and electronic voting in Canada, including the current consultations nationally, in New Brunswick and in PEI, you can check out my blog Paper Vote Canada and associated Twitter papervote

I really encourage people to submit a brief to the ERRE Electoral Reform committee by October 7, even if it’s just one page. Any technical evidence submitted can help. Right now the majority of documents submitted to the committee that mention online voting are in support of it, and the committee itself out of 34 scheduled meetings has only a total of one computer scientist witness.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.