Touch Screen Voting

How it Works

Voter notification cards are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood informing them of where and when they can vote and identification requirements. Voters use a touch screen system provided at a designated voting location to select their preferred candidates from each of the races and confirm their final ballot. A paper ballot is printed allowing the voter to review the completed ballot, then the ballot is run through an electronic tabulator to be counted. Upon the close of polls, all memory cards containing the votes scanned through the tabulators are securely brought to a central location and collated to determine election results.

Benefits

  • The eligibility of a voter is verified in person before a ballot is provided to the voter
  • No possibility of inadvertently spoiling ballots
  • Eliminates need for pre-printed ballots
  • Fast and reliable results following close of polls

Challenges

  • Expensive due to rental/purchase of touch screen voting kiosks
  • Potentially disenfranchises non-resident electors who may not be able to attend a designated voting location during the voting period
  • As the voter is required to attend a voting location in person and complete their ballot independently, there are concerns with accessibility of voting for those voters with varying abilities.
  • Additional protocols would need to be in place should there still be concern with COVID-19 and public safety. This could cause delays at the voting locations and additional accessibility restrictions.

Environmental Considerations

In-person elections create a significant environmental footprint, primarily through the use of vehicles to travel to and from voting sites. A 3.5km round trip by car produces approximately 2lbs of CO2. This is a considerably higher impact than other options such as mail in voting or internet voting that do not require individual car trips by each elector or small group of electors. The amount of paper waste generated is lower than other methods of in person voting as paper ballots are only produced once a person has actually voted, requiring no additional ballots to be printed. Many touch screen voting devices use standard printer paper so unused ballot paper can be reused for other purposes rather than be discarded. Touch screen devices draw approximately the same amount of power as optical scan tabulators (roughly 0.2 kilowatts each over a 12 hour period), although additional machines may be required to both print and mark ballots separately which would increase the overall energy cost.

Approximate cost: $5.75 per registered elector

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