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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

why postal ballots also suck

1. Procedures are more complicated than in-person voting
2. No immediate feedback / oversight if there are problems with the ballots
3. People screw up and put their signed declarations in the same envelope as their vote, thus a) spoiling their ballot and/or b) revealing who they voted for

Globe and Mail - Postal-ballot errors spark review - December 19, 2006
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen says he's considering revisions to Ontario's municipal elections law as towns and townships continue to struggle through counts of problem-plagued mail-in balloting in the Nov. 13 vote.

...

This week, judges in Bracebridge and Lindsay ordered that efforts be made to count ballots that had been determined spoiled by clerks in four Ontario municipalities because no signed declaration was enclosed.

Although some other municipalities faced with high postal-ballot rejection rates -- generally about 20 per cent -- instituted procedures before election day to try to salvage the votes, that option was refused by Lake of Bays Township in Muskoka, the City of Kawartha Lakes and the townships of Highlands East and Minden Hills.

Minden Hills is the only municipality so far where the added votes have made a difference. Out of 849 rejected ballots, 256 votes were found with a signed declaration improperly inserted inside the secrecy envelope and the vote was allowed.

As a result, challenger Lisa Schell saw her 11-vote loss to Clayton Cameron reversed to give her a one-vote majority.
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