A Comparative Assessment of Electronic Voting


Part III: Canadian Municipal Trials

To date, the Internet has been used to conduct a number of elections in Canada at the local level. The following section examines the experiences of Markham, Peterborough and Halifax with remote Internet voting to shed light on the potential of an Internet voting system in Canada. To date, six provinces have passed legislation as part of their respective Municipal Elections Act affording municipalities the opportunity to either implement alternative voting methods or some form of electronic voting, or to pass a bylaw that would authorize the use of alternative voting methods. Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan have all done so (see municipal or local government election act of each province).7 Though the option of using another method of voting is written into Ontario and Nova Scotia legislation, before implementing an alternative approach it was required that the local councils of Markham, Peterborough and Halifax pass bylaws specifying the type of method they wished to use and a rationale for its execution.8 Along with this, the three municipalities created a formal list of procedures to be followed and forms to be used in the context of electronic voting. This was done for Internet and vote tabulators in the cases of Markham and Peterborough and Internet and telephone voting for Halifax (Brouwer, August 27, 2009; Grant, August 25, 2009).

There have been many instances where Internet voting has been actively used in elections in Canada, but these occurrences were all at the local level, either in municipalities or townships. The first experiences with electronic voting by the Internet occurred in 2003. These trials occurred in the town of Markham; in six municipalities in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (as part of a joint trial); and in five municipalities in Prescott-Russell (City of Peterborough, 2005).9 In 2006, Markham and Peterborough used the Internet in their municipal elections, as did eight townships throughout Ontario who also offered telephone voting with an Internet option.10 In 2008, Halifax, and the Nova Scotia towns of Berwick, Windsor, and Stewiacke, conducted their municipal and school board elections by incorporating the Internet and telephone voting as an alternative voting method and Halifax recently implemented an expansion of that approach in a September 19, 2009 by-election. In this report we focus on experiences of Markham, Peterborough, and Halifax, since these jurisdictions adopted more developed models and also have higher populations than the other cases noted above.

Markham

Rationale for introducing electronic voting

Markham was the first municipality in Canada to introduce electronic voting as part of a comprehensive engagement strategy to increase participation in elections. 11 By increasing the range of services available to electors and making voting more convenient for residents, the Town of Markham hoped to not only increase electoral involvement, but also have a positive effect on voter turnout. In addition to the Internet voting option, vote tabulators were introduced as part of the engagement strategy to help incorporate electors with disabilities (including visually or hearing impaired) and allow them to cast a secret ballot. Tabulators had audio, touch and sip and/or puff abilities to enable these groups of electors to vote unassisted. Tabulators were also incorporated because the town believed they provide a more efficient counting mechanism than traditional tabulation procedures (Brouwer, August 27, 2009).

Development, technical features, cost and general operations of the Markham model

Prior to introducing electronic voting, the town conducted considerable research in anticipation of the 2003 and 2006 projects. Though more extensive research was carried out prior to 2006, some of these initiatives included evaluations of trials in other jurisdictions; a comparative risk analysis of traditional, Internet and other types of voting; consultations and recommendations from information technology companies; and examination of public attitude data from the Delvinia reports (Brouwer, August 31, 2009). The electronic model used by Markham included the option of remote Internet voting in advance polls during the 2003 and 2006 municipal elections as well as the use of optic scan vote tabulators in every polling station on election day. The electronic portion of the elections was run by Election Systems & Software (ES&S), of Omaha, Nebraska, a company that previously conducted multi-channel voting trials in the U.K. Markham paid ES&S $25,00012 in 2003 and $52,000 in 2006 for the development, execution and operation of the Web site.13 The vote tabulators were rented to the town at an additional cost of around $160,000 per election (Town of Markham, 2007).

On-line voting was only offered during the advance polls, and electors wishing to vote in this manner were required to pre-register. In 2003, electors were able to vote on-line during a five-day period and in 2006 the advance polling period lasted for six days.14 Every elector received an on-line registration package by mail as part of the voter notification process. The rationale behind pre-registration was that it would serve as an additional security precaution and would give the town a better sense of which electors opted to use electronic voting. When electors registered they were prompted to create a unique security question whose response was required before casting their ballots. Registration also removed elector names from the manual voter list and they no longer had the option of voting at a traditional polling station. Upon registering, electors were also mailed a unique PIN. Use of the PIN and the response to the unique security question allowed electors to vote on the Town of Markham Web site (Brouwer, August 27, 2009; Flaherty, August 28, 2009; Town of Markham, 2007).

The Town of Markham also took a unique outreach approach to inform its electors of the electronic voting service by working with Delvinia Interactive, a firm that specializes in creating digital experiences to create awareness of on-line voting. Delvinia created an interactive Web site that not only encouraged electors to register to vote on-line and informed them of how the process worked, but also educated them on the importance of voting. The Web site also included links to the various candidates' Web pages in case electors wanted to learn more about them or their mandates. The town advertised both the Web site and on-line voting through mailings, fridge magnets, print ads, in malls and by e-mail and telephone. This aggressive marketing approach is very likely one of the keystones to the success of Internet voting in Markham, and the notable increases in voter turnout. The same services were used in both election years. (Froman, October 2, 2009; Froman, December 8, 2009).

Model success and elector and government feedback

While turnout overall remained unchanged in the 2003 election (28 percent), turnout in the advance polls increased by 300 percent. To put this in perspective, voter turnout in most other Ontario municipalities declined during the 2003 election. Markham electors had the option of voting from home, their workplace, a library or public place where Internet was available as well as touch-screen kiosks that were set up in city hall (Sibley, 2003). In 2003, 12,000 out of 150,000 electors pre-registered to vote on-line and slightly over 7,000 voted on-line. In 2006, advance voting on-line increased by 48 percent, as 10,639 voters chose to use the service to cast their ballots (Internet News Unlimited, 2006). Eighteen percent of all votes cast in 2006 were electronic ballots, a one-percent increase from 2003, and a 38-percent increase in turnout overall (CANARIE, 2004). Public attitude data that was collected by Delvinia highlights use of and satisfaction with on-line voting in Markham.

In terms of remote location, 82 percent of electors who voted on-line did so from home and 88 percent of on-line voters cited convenience as the primary reason for doing so (Delvinia, 2007).15 When asked if they would like to see on-line voting offered in elections at other levels of government 90 percent report being very likely to vote using the Internet in a provincial election and 89 percent in a federal election (Delvinia, 2007). These percentages indicate that there is strong public support for remote Internet voting in the Town of Markham, at least among those who use the service. In addition, a portion of previous non-voters (25 percent in 2003 and 21 percent in 2006) declared that they had decided to cast a ballot because of the convenience of Internet voting (CANARIE, 2004; Delvinia, 2007). One hundred percent of the voters who voted on-line in 2003 reported they would vote on-line again in the future and 91 percent in the 2006 survey indicated they would be "very likely" to do so (CANARIE, 2004; Delvinia, 2007). Overall, based on the positive public feedback and increase in turnout, Markham plans to continue to refine its model and employ a similar electronic strategy in the forthcoming 2010 election.

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Peterborough

Rationale for introducing electronic voting

The rationale behind the introduction of Internet voting in Peterborough was to reduce the need for proxy vote applications and to enhance accessibility for electors, creating more opportunities for them to cast a ballot. In addition, the city was impressed by the increase in voter turnout in Markham's advance polls in 2003 and perceived on-line voting as a means of increasing turnout in the municipality. The potential to lower election costs was also an important consideration. Overall, the extension of Internet voting was seen as a positive step toward making elections more accessible by creating more voting options for electors (City of Peterborough, January 30, 2006; Wright-Laking, November 23, 2009).16

Peterborough initiated electronic voting for the first time in its 2006 municipal election and like Markham plans to continue and expand the use of electronic voting in its 2010 election. 17 Peterborough is demographically different from Markham, in that it is less urban, and has a smaller electorate with 52,116 electors. Nevertheless, its experience with electronic voting was very similar to that of Markham. A large percentage of its electors have home computers with access to the Internet.18 Peterborough is particularly interesting because it has a very large senior population (the second largest in Canada) and so to see a high rate of use among older electors highlights that remote Internet voting is not just something to attract young people.

Development, technical features and general operation of Peterborough's model

Prior to the introduction of Internet voting, the City of Peterborough did not collect public attitude data to gauge electors' reactions toward the service; however, they did analyze previous cases as well as different Internet voting providers and the types of alternative voting methods available. They also closely reviewed the ability to provide Internet voting and vote anywhere technology. The city also implemented an aggressive promotional campaign to inform electors of the service, which primarily involved visiting seniors' residences and community centres in hopes of appealing to older electors. Like Markham, Peterborough chose to use remote Internet voting for a five-day period in its advance polls and introduced vote tabulators into all polling stations on election day.19 City officials awarded the electronic election contract to a Toronto-based company, Dominion Voting Systems, for a total cost of $180,400, including the rental fee for the tabulators.20 The system operated on a two-step process very similar to the one used in Markham (City of Peterborough, January 30, 2006; Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009; Wright-Laking, November 23, 2009).

All electors on the voters list were mailed a notice of registration card or letter with, among other information, a unique elector identifier (EID). To access the on-line election services electors were required to login to the system prior to registering using their EID as well as retyping a security code called a CAPTCHA challenge21. To register, electors were required to provide their address (as shown on their notice card) and their year of birth. They also had the option of choosing whether they preferred to have their PIN mailed (as in the Markham trials) or e-mailed to them. Registered electors were then either mailed or e-mailed another card with a PIN. Both the PIN and the login information (EID number and CAPTCHA challenge entry) were required prior to casting a ballot on the City of Peterborough Web site (City of Peterborough, 2006).

Model success and elector and local government feedback

Overall, the introduction of electronic voting in Peterborough can be considered a success. Public reaction to the introduction of Internet voting was positive and although initially negative media coverage was an obstacle, this was overcome by providing media sources with additional resources and educating them about the Internet process and the security of the system (Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009; Wright-Laking, November 23, 2009). No security issues or risks required attention. The City of Peterborough reports that they put "tremendous security methods in place and felt very comfortable the system was secure" (Wright-Laking, November 23, 2009). The only drawback of the process cited by city officials was that Internet voting was limited to advance polls only and this is something they would like to see expanded in future elections (Wright-Laking, November 23, 2009).

There was no noticeable effect on turnout overall (it remained unchanged from 2003 at a rate of 48 percent), but turnout in the advance polls was moderately higher than the figures for 2003 (Hoover, August 27, 2009). The increase in advance turnout may be a consequence of the fact that aside from the on-line polls, only one traditional advance polling station was open to the public. Also, turnout may have been artificially high in the 2003 election given that there was a referendum question on the ballot (Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009). In all, 14 percent of electors who voted cast their ballots over the Internet (3,473 of 25,036). The largest group of on-line voters was baby boomers (City of Peterborough, 2009; Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009). Specifically, 70 percent of on-line voters were 45 and older, and the highest rate of use was among electors aged 55 to 64. Only 14 percent of those aged 18 to 34 voted on-line (Sawatzky, December 9, 2009). The higher rate of use among baby boomers is interesting because most survey data indicates that young people are more inclined to report using, or saying they would make use of, Internet voting than other cohorts of electors. If seniors, or older cohorts of electors, are interested in making use of on-line voting, its implementation is more likely.

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Halifax

Rationale for introducing electronic voting

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) first introduced remote Internet voting in its municipal and school board elections in 2008 as part of a pilot project that sought to establish the viability and reliability of electronic voting. The municipality decided to offer remote Internet and telephone voting, given that voting over the phone appealed to a wider demographic; especially older electors who might have greater difficulty using the Internet. Furthermore, HRM contains both an urban core and suburban areas, so while some areas are highly connected to the Internet, other parts are only now getting Internet connectivity. By implementing both remote Internet and telephone voting Halifax offered those residents who have limited or no Internet access the possibility of voting electronically (Mellett, September 29, 2009).

Prior to the 2008 trial, HRM researched electronic options for three years and closely monitored the experiences of other municipalities that had used the Internet as a voting method. There were five main principles to which Council wanted the introduction of an alternative voting method to adhere. These were, foremost, maintaining the integrity of the electoral system, as well as increasing voter choice by incorporating additional voting methods, potentially increasing voter turnout, improving cost effectiveness, and improving the speed of both tabulation and the reporting of results. The four most important considerations in the process were deemed to be outsourcing to a trusted partner, the level of security (HRM decided on two shared secrets)22, the quality of the voter data (to control potential duplicates and have verifiable data), and finally a credible audit process to give voters confidence in the voting process. In the case of HRM this last consideration was accompanied by the development of a very detailed bylaw as well as a policies and procedures document (Mellett, September 11, 2009).

Development, technical features and general operation of Halifax's model

The trial included a potential 276,000 voters and was contracted to a locally established company, Intelivote, who had previously run elections for eight small Ontario townships in  2006,23 and for two districts in the UK in 200724. For a total cost of $487,15125 Intelivote incorporated remote Internet and telephone voting as a component of the advance polls. The remote Internet and phone portion of the election took place during a three-day period two weeks prior to election day (Bousquet, September 18, 2008; HRM, January 22, 2008; Smith, August 26, 2009).

The Halifax experience differs slightly from the Markham and Peterborough projects given that electors were not required to register prior to using remote Internet or telephone voting – residents were instead able to choose to use the service at any time. Whereas in the other two trials electors who expressed a willingness to use remote Internet voting (by registering on-line) were taken off the manual voting lists, the technology used in the Halifax trials enabled voters to select their preferred method of voting when they wanted to cast a ballot and not before (Smith, August 26, 2009). The Halifax approach is also exceptional in that electors were able to spoil a ballot. Not being able to spoil a ballot is often cited as a major disadvantage of electronic voting systems since many typically do not offer an official way to decline a ballot. Intelivote created a "decline to vote" button which was presented along with the candidate names so that electors could exercise this right. Another important feature of the model used in Halifax is that voters were able to switch voting channels if they wished. For instance, an elector could start voting on his or her cell phone on the way home from work (e.g. vote for mayor) and then continue voting for the remaining positions (e.g. councillors and school board members) from his or her home computer (Smith, August 26, 2009).

To ensure security and anonymity, a specific set of steps was undertaken. Every resident of HRM on the voters list was mailed a letter explaining how to vote electronically and providing a PIN. At any point during the three-day period electors were able to log on to a secure Web site controlled by Intelivote or call a phone number and cast their ballot electronically. The on-line process required electors to complete a CAPTCHA challenge, and then use their PIN and date of birth to confirm their identity. Once these security steps were complete a menu prompted electors on how to vote for mayor, councillor and school board representatives (Bousquet, September 18, 2008).26

In terms of security more specifically, the system used in HRM (developed by Intelivote) used four levels of security checks. The first, a "penetration test", involved a contracted IT firm trying to break through the Intelivote system to evaluate whether existing security mechanisms were capable of adequately preventing another person or group from tampering with the system. The second check involved analyzing the encryption system used in the communication between computer servers.27 The third was an external audit of the entire voting process undertaken by an auditing firm.28 Finally, the fourth check analyzed the network's overall security to ensure prevention of attacks and problems (Bousquet, September 18, 2008).

Continuous by-election, model success and elector and local government feedback

Public acceptance and support of electronic voting in Halifax was relatively strong. As early as 2004, HRM began conducting polls in which more than 70 percent of respondents said they would be in favour of HRM implementing an electronic voting option. While 44 percent reported that voting at the polls was their preferred method, 35 percent indicated that they would prefer Internet voting if it were available. No objections were raised at council meetings and there was no public protest.29 Though voter turnout did not increase overall (from 2004 to 2008 it dropped from 48 percent or 125,035 voters to 38 percent or 100,708 voters), turnout on advance voting days (where remote Internet and telephone voting were offered as options) increased by more than 50 percent (from 14,000 electors in 2004 to 29,000 electors in 2008) despite it only being offered for a three-day period (Mellett, September 11, 2009; Smith, August 26, 2009).30 Though the 2008 election was deemed a close mayoral race it was also held near the Canadian federal election and this may have been an important factor in the lower turnout (Bousquet, October 19, 2008).31

Municipal officials were sufficiently pleased with the 2008 pilot project32 that they recently conducted another remote Internet and telephone voting trial as part of a special by-election that took place on September 19, 2009 (Mellett, September 11, 2009). This time, however, the option to vote using the Internet or telephone from remote locations was continuous (from the first voting day up until and including election day).33 Voter turnout was 35 percent, a 12 to 25 percent increase from turnout in the three previous by-elections (21, 10 and 23 percent respectively) and 75 percent of all votes cast were electronic (Mellett, September 29, 2009).

This by-election was also unique in that HRM launched a candidate module (designed by Intelivote), which allowed candidates the opportunity to track participation by searching electors by name or address to see if they had participated. This module was received well by all candidates and used by most of them to varying degrees. It was also positively received by election administrators, who reported being pleased that candidates' representatives were not crowding the polling place during the election. While candidates' representatives still had the legal right to attend the polls, being able to track participation on-line apparently eliminated the need to do this (Smith, October 3, 2009).34

Overall, HRM personnel are sufficiently pleased with the trials that they plan to eliminate a substantial number of polling stations in the 2012 municipal election. Council anticipates this will result in "increased turnout, lower election costs, and happier electors" (Smith, August 26, 2009). If these considerations are accurate, the Halifax model may be an important methodology to consider in the development of an electronic voting program in other Canadian jurisdictions.

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Municipal Trials and Developing a Model for Canada

The experiences of Markham, Peterborough and Halifax indicate some broad consequences when voter participation becomes more convenient (Hoover, August 27, 2009). While general conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the effect of alternative voting methods on overall turnout, these instances illustrate that there can be a positive effect on accessibility. The three most prominent communities to introduce electronic voting programs so far (notably remote Internet voting) are different in nature. Markham is urban, has a higher average income among its residents than the others, and is one of the largest municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area. The Markham community also has a high comfort level with and access to technology (Brouwer, August 27, 2009). Halifax, although the most urban and developed of the Atlantic municipalities, still has considerable undeveloped areas, some which are just gaining Internet access. It also has a larger electorate than Markham (approximately 276,000 electors in Halifax compared with 156,000 in Markham), is located in a different region of the country, and has contrasting contextual features and demographic characteristics. Peterborough's electorate consists of approximately 52,000 electors, is less urban, and its residents have a lower average income (Smith, August 26, 2009; Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009). Despite these demographic and cultural differences, the introduction of Internet voting was well received by the public in all three communities and is something residents would like to see continue. These examples illustrate the importance of public acceptance, and also that alternative voting methods can be effectively implemented in a variety of communities with different characteristics and in different contexts.

While the public opinion data cited earlier indicate that there is general public support for the extension of Internet voting, particularly among young electors, it should not be discounted that there may be some negative attitudes towards it. Discontent with electronic voting, even if it is not widespread and isolated to one area, is an important consideration and something that should be researched and surveyed further. However, evidence from Peterborough's experience suggests that older cohorts of electors may become comfortable with and make use of Internet voting, particularly if awareness is created among the group.

With respect to voter turnout, making assessments from these municipal cases regarding the impact of remote Internet voting on turnout is difficult given that, with the exception of HRM's recent by-election, remote electronic voting options were only offered for a specific time during advance polling and so it is not possible to know what effect these options might have had on overall turnout. The extension of remote Internet voting did have a positive impact on advance turnout in Markham and Peterborough (albeit very modestly in Peterborough). And, while it is difficult to evaluate how much turnout increased in Halifax's advance polls since they were only open for a three-day period, 30 percent of electors who voted in the 2008 HRM election did so electronically. Though overall turnout in Halifax decreased from the previous election, in 2004 there was a plebiscite on Sunday shopping held in conjunction with municipal elections, which increased turnout in all municipalities.35 Furthermore, turnout in the recent by-election increased substantially to 35 percent (the three previous special elections had voter turnout of 21 percent, 10 percent and 23 percent) (Mellett, September 28, 2009; Mellett, November 25, 2009). So, while we cannot evaluate the overall impact of remote electronic voting on turnout until there are more substantive trials, its effect in the recent by-election is promising.

Other important considerations can also be taken from these trials, particularly the marketing scheme employed in Markham and some specific elements from HRM's approach. Making electors aware of the availability of electronic voting methods and informing them of how they may access these services is an important prerequisite. The strong positive impact Markham experienced with respect to voter turnout may also very well be linked to the town's aggressive marketing campaign. This may also be the case with regards to the promotional campaign Peterborough targeted to older groups of electors.

The Halifax case is particularly valuable to study given that it did not require electors to pre-register to vote on-line, offered a "decline to vote" button enabling electors to refuse a ballot, offered telephone and Internet voting simultaneously, allowed voting for the whole election period in its most recent by-election, and implemented a candidate module that allowed for the maintenance of candidates' representatives for electronic ballots. This combination of features had the goals of reducing barriers to voting, maintaining the traditional integrity of the voting process, and increasing ballot accessibility. The absence of pre-registration in Halifax makes the remote Internet and telephone voting options of maximal utility.

Further, HRM's incorporation of both remote Internet and telephone voting was an important decision to maximize accessibility. While a majority of households in a given jurisdiction may have access to the Internet, many rural areas may experience limited connectivity and those with lower incomes may not be able to afford access. Instituting Internet kiosks in public places such as shopping malls, libraries and community centres is one method of making remote Internet voting more widely accessible to these groups of citizens, but the extension of remote telephone voting offers these electors the option of remote voting. Traveling to an electronic polling location may very well present as much of a barrier as traveling to a traditional polling station. In addition, the ability of Intelivote's system to allow electors to switch voting channels is a model of enhanced accessibility and efficient delivery of service. A multi-channel model such as this, where remote voting options are interchangeable, makes voting much more feasible for certain groups of electors, notably those who are out of the country, busy professionals and single parents as well as electors with disabilities.

Finally, the introduction of a candidate module, which allowed candidates' representatives to exercise the same scrutineer function they do in traditional polling places helps maintain tradition as well as the integrity of the voting process. Taken together, these features as well as the marketing campaign adopted by the Town of Markham are salient features that should be seriously considered in the development of a Canadian model because they add value to the electoral process while allowing for technological advancement.

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7 Prince Edward Island also has legislation approving the use of electronic voting, but only for referendums or plebiscites.
8 Halifax had to pass two separate by-laws for the 2008 and 2009 elections given that the 2008 election only offered electors the opportunity of voting online for three days during the advance poll, whereas in the 2009 election Internet and telephone voting were an option for the entire election period including election day (Grant, 2009).
9 Ten of these municipalities used both Internet and telephone voting in their elections. The electronic services in these elections were supplied by CanVote, a company based in L'Original, Ontario. Markham only offered Internet voting in addition to their paper balloting; the Internet voting portion of the election was supplied by ES&S. The Halifax and other Nova Scotia elections were conducted with Intelivote, a Nova Scotia based company. In terms of turnout, East Hawkesbury, with only 3,100 electors, experienced a turnout rate of 65 percent, South Dundas with 8,417 electors had a turnout of 58 percent, North Dundas with an electorate of 8,289 had an overall turnout of 48 percent, South Glengarry with 10,988 electors had a turnout of 53 percent, and North Glengarry with 8,900 electors had an overall turnout of 60 percent. The average voter turnout in 2003 for all eleven municipalities in these regions was 52 percent (City of Peterborough, 2005; Smith, August 26, 2009).
10 These townships include Addington Highlands, Archipelago, Augusta, Cobourg, Edwardsburgh–Cardinal, Perth, South Frontenac and Tay Valley and their elections were also conducted by Intelivote (Intelivote, 2009).
11 Previously remote Internet voting had been trialled in some small townships in 2000 (Nicholson, September 23, 2009).
12 Markham was able to negotiate such an excellent price on the contract given that the company was new to Canada and wanted to break through the market here (Brouwer, August 27, 2009).
13 Printing, postage, communications and IT resources were an additional cost. In 2006 for example Markham spent $104,000 in additional costs related to Internet voting (Town of Markham 2005, 2007).
14 In 2003 electors were able to vote from November 3rd to 7th and in 2006 from November 4th to 9th.
15 These statistics are based on the 2006 election.
16 By using Internet voting and vote tabulators, the city of Peterborough was able to reduce the cost of the 2006 election by less than the 2003 budget (City of Peterborough, January 30, 2006).
17 The Clerk's office hopes council will approve continuous Internet voting in the 2010 election right up until and on election day (Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009).
18 Although the City of Peterborough is unsure of exact percentages in terms of home computers and Internet access, it reports that access is relatively high within the area (Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009).
19 Twenty-one vote tabulators were used for faster and more reliable reporting of election results as well as to reduce manpower and costs (City of Peterborough, January 30, 2006).
20 This price excludes PST and GST (City of Peterborough, January 30, 2006). This was the first time Dominion Voting Systems had provided Internet voting (Wright-Laking, October 1, 2009).
21 CAPTCHA (Computer Assisted Program to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a security procedure whereby the user is prompted to re-type a series of distorted characters located in a blurred box (Bousquet, 2008; Smith, August 26, 2009).
22 There are different levels of sign-in security that may be selected with using remote Internet voting, namely pre-registration, just a PIN, or two shared secrets. Although using shared secrets requires the electoral office to have access to a reliable second data source and increases the complexity somewhat, HRM went with this option because officials felt it was more secure and had the greatest potential to affect turnout. HRM decided not to use pre-registration, unlike Markham and Peterborough, based on the UK's experience with it and how it greatly reduced electronic voting participation rates there. The use of only a PIN was deemed to be too insecure (Mellett, September 11, 2009).
23 The largest of these townships was South Frontenac with a total of 18,528 voters (Bousquet, September 18, 2008).
24 This includes the district of Rushmoor Borough (101,000 voters) and South Bucks (68,000 voters). Intelivote has now worked extensively in the USA, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland (Smith, August 26, 2009).
25 This portion of the cost is just the contract with Intelivote. The actual election cost of $1.3 million, which is more expensive than a regular municipal election given that the school board elections were held simultaneously (Grant, 2009; HRM, January 22, 2008).
26 The telephone vote walked electors through a similar system (Bousquet, September 18, 2008). The telephone system is the same network used in Canadian Idol and can accommodate more than 6,000 calls at once (MacDonald, November 22, 2006).
27 During an election computer servers share and pass on information regarding the votes; this information must be encrypted to prevent someone or some other server from gaining access to this information. In the case of Halifax the Intelivote servers are so close together that this is not really an issue, but it is taken into consideration as a general precaution (Bousquet, September 18, 2008).
28 Halifax used Ernst & Young in 2008. The auditing process involves a careful examination of the treatment of the voters' list, the distribution of PINs and the protection of voters' identity (Bousquet, September 18, 2008; Grant, August 25, 2009; Smith, August 26, 2009).
29 There was only one letter in a local newspaper questioning the issue (Bousquet, September 18, 2008).
30 It should be noted that turnout in the 2004 election saw a 12 percent increase given that there was a question regarding Sunday shopping on the ballot, which had been an important issue in the municipality (Smith, August 26, 2009). In addition, an important consideration is that although turnout overall did not increase, it did not decrease either, which it did in both provincial and federal elections held the same year (Mellett, September 11, 2009).
31 HRM's 2nd advance polls were held the same day as the federal election, Tuesday, October 14, 2008, but the ordinary polls were held Saturday, October 18, 2008 (Mellett, November 25, 2009).
32 Council rated it a 9 out of 10 based on their evaluation criteria (Mellett, September 11, 2009).
33 This contract is also with Intelivote with an approved budget of $85,000. Electors were still able to vote by traditional paper ballots (Mellett, September 11, 2009).
34 This module was not tested in 2008 because officials had concerns that it may make some changes to how campaigning occurs, but were ready to pilot it in the more controlled environment of a by-election (Mellett, September 11, 2009).
35 Turnout in 2000 is a more accurate comparison given that there was no plebiscite. It was 39 percent in 2000 (Mellett, November 25, 2009).

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