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Doubts linger about online and phone voting, session hears

Published on

Jake Romphf

Some Sarnia residents remain uneasy about eVoting in the Oct. 22 municipal election, citing a potential for security breaches, voter fraud and compromised personal information.

“I’m very nervous that they don’t have the right controls in place to keep our data safe,” resident Scott Richie told a recent information meeting City Hall organized to explain the new voting process.

Richie, who said he works in information security, was speaking of Intelivote Systems, the company Sarnia has hired to oversee its first Internet and telephone voting election.

Intelivote has never been hacked before, but “past performance is not a good indicator for future performance,” he said.

“No companies were hacked — until they were hacked.”

Resident Margaret Bird told a question and answer period at Clearwater Arena the city hasn’t been clear about voter information storage.

“They keep saying secure location, secure and safe, and risk-free. They won’t tell you,” she said, adding she’s concerned her personal information is vulnerable online.

“Any (mailing) list is worth big bucks out there. They openly sell your information without getting your permission.

City staff explained the process, saying votes will be encrypted and sent to a secure Bell server.

Deputy clerk James Jenkins said controls in place to ensure the personal information of voters is confidential. That information is contained on the same software used in previous elections and “there really isn’t a major difference now,” he said.

Intelivote has conducted 1,150 previous elections and never had a problem, he added.

“They have a clean track record.”

Electors can vote for mayor, city and county councillors and school board trustees at any time between 9 a.m. on Oct. 11 and 8 p.m. on Oct. 22.

An instruction letter will be mailed in September containing voter ID and PIN numbers. When voting, electors will also be asked to provide a secondary credential, such as a date of birth, to confirm identity.

When voting online, the screen will display the ballot. But instead of checking boxes with a pencil, voters will click a mouse to select their candidates.

If voting on the phone, voters will call the number provided in their letter and follow the prompts to enter their PIN and make their picks.

Some people at the information session expressed concern about people using the unused PIN numbers of others to cast multiple votes, which would be illegal voter fraud.

Additional voter information sessions will be held on:

TUESDAY, AUG. 14: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Clearwater Arena, Lower Hall, 1400 Wellington St.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., City Hall, Council Chambers, 255 Christina St. N.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers, 255 Christina St. N.

In addition to Sarnia, Point Edward, Oil Springs, Petrolia, Lambton Shores, Warwick and Plympton-Wyoming are also using Intelivote this election.



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