[E-voting] Thunder Bay (Canada) may audit its e-voting machines and its paper ballots

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Wed May 11 20:08:38 IST 2005

*2006 vote audit probable *

By Ward Holland - The Chronicle-Journal

May 11, 2005

The City of Thunder Bay will likely audit several ballots after the 
November 2006 municipal election to ensure the electronic vote-counting 
system is working properly.

“Unless directed by council, I suspect we will be conducting a 
post-election audit” after the election, city clerk John Hannam said 

Hannam will write a report detailing how a post-election audit could be 
done. The report will be presented to council by the end of June.

The City of Thunder Bay’s voting procedures have been questioned by some 
people in the community since the last election.

On Nov. 10, 2003, a computer glitch caused some votes to be counted more 
than once. The mistake was corrected and the returning officer said the 
official vote count was accurate.

In response, resident Eric Leat requested through the courts a manual 
recount of the ballots. In January 2004, Justice John Wright dismissed 
Leat’s request.

However, Wright suggested the city may want to audit the performance of 
the machines used to count the 2003 municipal election ballots.

“I am not suggesting a complete recount,” Wright said in 2004. “I am 
simply suggesting that a few polls might be selected at random . . . and 
the votes for some of the candidates at those polls manually counted.”

Rosalie Evans, the city’s lawyer, said Tuesday that the city didn’t have 
an obligation to audit the 2003 ballots, noting the court hearing and 
adding that the procedure the city used was “fine.”

Evans said the city welcomed any recommendations from the judge.

The city has never done a post-election audit, but employees have tested 
the machines before elections take place, Hannam said. The city clerk’s 
office oversees municipal elections.

Electronic vote-tabulating machines have been used in the 1997, 2000 and 
2003 municipal elections.

The ballots for the 2003 election have been destroyed and, as a result, 
an audit cannot be done, Hannam said. The Municipal Elections Act says 
that ballots shall be destroyed 90 days after a municipal election.

Other aspects of the city’s vote-counting system have been questioned.

Coun. Lawrence Timko said he would like the ballots counted manually. He 
said he believes the method is cheaper than a computer system.

Hannam, who maintains the computer system is cheaper, said he wants to 
continue using an electronic system to count votes.

Our opinion/A4

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