Kamloops council gives thumbs down to hand counting ballots | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops council gives thumbs down to hand counting ballots

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November 25, 2015 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - It was a close vote in council yesterday, but no recount is needed on an effort to bring in post-election audits. 

Coun. Denis Walsh wanted to bring further accountability in both election and referendum voting systems and argued for hand counts after the fact. He feels electronic voting machines are susceptible to computer problems like 'crashes, bugs, mysterious malfunctions, data tampering and even computer viruses' and said he was ‘not on a crusade to go back to paper’ just to ‘spot check’ that voting machines are working.

Coun. Dieter Dudy agreed with Walsh, saying electronic voting should be subject to the upmost scrutiny, while Coun. Ken Christian said there are a million applications of technology that we rely on every day. Mayor Peter Milobar said safe guards are already in place and not only was there ‘never a hint’ anything wasn’t counted correctly, but hand counting could leave candidates and decisions ‘in limbo’ waiting for results.

Chief election officer Cindy Kennedy said she personally checked each machine for accuracy and reliability. The machines are readers only, cannot be hooked to WIFI and a memory card is sealed over with tape to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Before an election, tapes are checked for zero balances and every hour, every voting book is added up to guarantee the ballots distributed are the same as.

When election results are claimed it is through something called a judicial recount process,  Kennedy explained. She believes ballots are the property of the chief election officer and not available to a third party, even for recount. Kennedy said she would have to consult a lawyer to ascertain if Walsh’s motion was even legal if council wanted to move ahead with the motion.

In the end the motion to conduct post-election hand-counted audits was defeated during yesterday's regular council meeting, Nov. 25, in a vote that split council five to four.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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