Tag Archives: voting

Hello On-line Voting, Good-bye Secret Ballot

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New YorkSo according to some, I am a Luddite because I oppose electors voting through their Smartphones or computer. Nope. I have no problem with electronic voting. My problem with on-line voting is the end of the secret ballot.

The secret ballot was first introduced in the 1850s in Australia, then spread to the United States and Canada. Before the secret ballot, voters had to declare their vote publicly. Fights broke out and voters were bribed or paid for their vote. A man might not vote for the man of his choice because his employer could know.
It is interesting that with the coming of the secret ballot, the number of people voting did drop. But for what reason?
Sasha Issenberg in the Atlantic suggests it was due to the reduced social pressure of neighbours not knowing if a person voted.Abolish the Secret Ballot

What has this to do with on-line voting?
On-line voting involves a person using a pin number to enter the voting system on-line and cast their vote. The problem is not with the security of the computer system or the Smartphone (Hello Blackberry, the secure Smartphone). It is not even that someone could gather pin numbers and vote instead of the particular voter. That could be solved with a thumbprint, face recognition, test question or other methods.
It is the simple fact that a person can look over the voter’s shoulder or at their computer screen when they are casting their vote.
This means that, for instance, in a home, all members of a family could be forced to vote and vote a certain way by the member of the family who rules it economically. (I am trying to put this in a way that is not sexist or culturally insensitive)
Voters could be gathered together by an employer or landlord or powerful politician and made to vote a certain way. The bribery and fights would return. Elections could be sold.
And yes this is also possible with mailed in ballots that are becoming popular in rural areas.
If you don’t think this could happen today, I have one word for you, Robocalls.
The only way at this time to prevent abuse of the vote is to have people go to a polling place and vote in the privacy of the voting booth.
Do we want to increase people voting at the expense of free and fair elections? I vote “No”.

Voting in Early Canada

The Truth is Out! I’m Against Amalgamation.

While talking about Women’s Municipal Campaign School, I mentioned my reasons for not supporting amalgamation of Waterloo Region,even though I’m a Regional Councillor and think the Region does a good job. Will be in paper tomorrow. Here is why from my speech.

When people talk about one regional government or amalgamating cities, we all need to think what that means.  I know as a regional councillor that we are a good council BUT, less local politicians mean less power for citizens. Amalgamation means less chance for different voices to be heard at the council table.  Running regionally is more expensive than a ward. It is hard to unseat an incumbent, assuming you want to.  Lots of politicians give citizens more access to their councillors.

Less power for school boards the last few years when they lost the ability to raise taxes, means less power for parents.  Citizen councils and parents councils are fine as advisory but they don’t have power. 

It is business people who are pushing amalgamation, overwhelmingly middle aged white men. Business is fine, but companies are not run as democracies. So I believe, being a business owner myself, that business people can find democracy frustrating because it is slow,it gets tangled in red tape at times, it consults. A good democracy doesn’t make decisions suddenly and move quickly most times. Government is forever with the winning and losing politicians moving in and out of office while the programs go on. Business can move quickly and do wonderful things but it can also fail spectacularly in the market place, as we have recently seen. Democratic Government is there to pick up the pieces and to listen to the people.

It will not be cheaper to have amalgamation. Yes a few less politicians and CEOs but other amalgamations have shown that overall, wages rise to the highest common denominator and there will still be a need for branch offices in the cities, deputy fire and police chiefs, etc.

We can cut red tape by having staff work together, which they already are, to do things like making the rules the same for all. We already have joint library catalog access for the public libraries for instance.

I’m even more against the amalgamation of Kitchener and Waterloo because, frankly if you are going to go that way,we should amalgamate regionally.

Sadly, I doubt I will get any support for my thesis because people are cynical about politicians. They forget that we are their representatives and they have a vote to vote us in or out. The alternative is dictatorship.

P.S. I am for one water system, though. On record for that in a previous post I believe.

The Truth is Out! I'm Against Amalgamation.

While talking about Women’s Municipal Campaign School, I mentioned my reasons for not supporting amalgamation of Waterloo Region,even though I’m a Regional Councillor and think the Region does a good job. Will be in paper tomorrow. Here is why from my speech.

When people talk about one regional government or amalgamating cities, we all need to think what that means.  I know as a regional councillor that we are a good council BUT, less local politicians mean less power for citizens. Amalgamation means less chance for different voices to be heard at the council table.  Running regionally is more expensive than a ward. It is hard to unseat an incumbent, assuming you want to.  Lots of politicians give citizens more access to their councillors.

Less power for school boards the last few years when they lost the ability to raise taxes, means less power for parents.  Citizen councils and parents councils are fine as advisory but they don’t have power. 

It is business people who are pushing amalgamation, overwhelmingly middle aged white men. Business is fine, but companies are not run as democracies. So I believe, being a business owner myself, that business people can find democracy frustrating because it is slow,it gets tangled in red tape at times, it consults. A good democracy doesn’t make decisions suddenly and move quickly most times. Government is forever with the winning and losing politicians moving in and out of office while the programs go on. Business can move quickly and do wonderful things but it can also fail spectacularly in the market place, as we have recently seen. Democratic Government is there to pick up the pieces and to listen to the people.

It will not be cheaper to have amalgamation. Yes a few less politicians and CEOs but other amalgamations have shown that overall, wages rise to the highest common denominator and there will still be a need for branch offices in the cities, deputy fire and police chiefs, etc.

We can cut red tape by having staff work together, which they already are, to do things like making the rules the same for all. We already have joint library catalog access for the public libraries for instance.

I’m even more against the amalgamation of Kitchener and Waterloo because, frankly if you are going to go that way,we should amalgamate regionally.

Sadly, I doubt I will get any support for my thesis because people are cynical about politicians. They forget that we are their representatives and they have a vote to vote us in or out. The alternative is dictatorship.

P.S. I am for one water system, though. On record for that in a previous post I believe.