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Seniors petitioning Sarnia City Hall for paper ballots

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:41 -- Chris Cooke
Shirley Davidson, David Boushy and Jim Houston

David Boushy told the Lambton Seniors Association he will present a motion to reconsider paper ballots in next year’s municipal election but he isn’t optimist about the outcome.

The Association, headed by chairman Jim Houston signed a petition last month calling on Sarnia Council to rescind a decision permitting only telephone and electronic voting in next November’s election. Houston told First Monday his group is concerned about hacking and electronic “glitches” noting “a majority of seniors are more comfortable with polling booths and paper ballots. They aren’t well versed in electronic voting and don’t want it shoved down their throats by a City Council with a different agenda”.

Houston noted the Federal and Provincial Governments still use and want paper ballots and it is only the municipal act that permits municipalities “to go exclusively electronic”.

At a meeting last month the Lambton Seniors Association signed a petition and asked Boushy to place the concerns of its members before Council. “I can but my gut tells me it won’t pass” Boushy told some 75 members in attendance.

He added Council’s decision to “go electronic in next year’s election” caught him off guard. “I didn’t see it coming,” says Boushy. “The administration suddenly presented it, I spoke against it and the next thing I knew paper ballots were gone”.

Sarnia signed with Intelivote Systems of Darmouth, Nova Scotia. The company had a spotty financial history and was being sued by a lending organization when it partnered with Scytl Secure Voting Systems of Barcelona, Spain in April last year.

Since then outraged seniors have been attempting to have the decision to ditch paper ballots reversed.

“We have a constitutional right and I want that constitutional right upheld” Shirley Davidson of Sarnia told Houston. “I’m at a loss for words,” she told First Monday. “With the magnitude of salaries at Sarnia City Hall you’d think this administration could manage properly and effectively”.

Davidson went on to say “the people of Sarnia know what is going on and at the next election will act appropriately. We need some common sense”.

Margaret Bird of Sarnia asked, “If electronic voting isn’t permitted in Provincial elections how does Sarnia get off doing what it is doing?”

She along with other seniors will be fanning out across the City gathering petitions for presentation to City Council. Bird says they will also put pressure on local Federal and Provincial politicians to help in the cause.

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