KITCHENER — Kitchener wants to hear from residents about how they want to vote in next year’s municipal election, and an online voting company based in the city wants to see remote ballots as an option.

“Kitchener has never done online voting,” said Matthew Heuman, chief executive officer of Neuvote.

However, the pandemic brought new ways of doing things using technology into the spotlight, and online voting seems prime for a new approach in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s just really top of mind now,” Heuman said. “I would love to see a hybrid approach where we have in-person options and online options.”

The city has a survey on the Engage Kitchener website asking people for their views on options for the October 2022 municipal and school board elections that include voting by mail, online or phone. People can also share their experiences voting in past elections and ideas for making improvements.

“Your feedback will help us make voting easier for residents and ensure flexibility for any future COVID-19 restrictions,” the survey description says.

Council needs to decide on alternative voting by May, but city staff plant to present their in October to leave plenty of time for planning, said city clerk Christine Tarling, also director of legislated services.

“We’re always interested in hearing what it is that the citizens prefer,” Tarling said. “That will help to inform council with their decision-making.”

More than 800 responses have come in so far for the survey, open until Aug. 31 at www.engagewr.ca/yourvote. Tarling said it’s too soon to say what are common themes in the responses, which will be included in the report to council.

“We’re pretty excited about the level of responses we’re getting,” Tarling said.

Neuvote was working on a secure online voting platform before the pandemic, but now that has picked up steam with a growing demand for online voting from both governments and citizens.

“I believe the ability to vote online can actually reshape the democratic process,” Heuman said.

Online voting can help boost voter turnout by making it more accessible and easy compared to traditional in-person voting, which requires a lot of effort on the part of voters to make it to the polls. Many are left out when this is the only way to cast a ballot.

“They want to get engaged. It’s just the process is so arduous,” Heuman said. “It’s not just an option anymore. It’s a complete necessity.”

 

Source: https://www.therecord.com/news/waterloo-region/2021/08/13/kitchener-asks-about-online-voting-for-next-election.html

About Neuvote

Neuvote Systems Inc. is a full suite election management technology company that provides governments a cutting-edge, paper ballot secured, online voting platform. Backed by Microsoft’s award winning ElectionGuard, it is the only online voting company bringing the gold standard of paper ballot security to the online voting industry. With a commitment to enhancing and strengthening democracy, Neuvote also pioneered a customizable civic management platform, Civic Engagement Network, to inform and engage voters and government officials before, during and after elections. Neuvote is a proudly Canadian company based in Kitchener, Ontario.

For more information, please visit our website at: www.Neuvote.com or contact:

Matthew Heuman
CEO, Neuvote
Phone: +1.438.863.0234
Email: matthew@neuvote.com