Canadian Town Invites the Youth Vote Through Online Voting

Seven in ten Toronto area voters prefer voting online to voting in line, survey says

by / October 16, 2006
As municipal Election Day approaches in Ontario, Canada, an e-democracy survey released today shows overwhelming support for online voting among citizens in the Greater Toronto area. Sponsored by Delvinia Interactive using its AskingCanadians consumer research panel, the survey reveals that 69 percent of residents in the Greater Toronto area who are planning to vote in the November 13 election would prefer to vote online if offered. Of residents not planning to vote, 82 percent responded that the opportunity to cast ballots online would increase the likelihood they would vote.

A significant finding in the AskingCanadians study shows young people aged 18-34 are least likely to vote through traditional polling stations but most likely to adopt online voting. Among those planning to vote, three in four (73 percent) would prefer to cast their ballot online. For those who do not intend to vote, the online voting preference is even higher at 83 percent.

There are 445 municipalities in Ontario. Of the 25 municipalities that offer citizens the opportunity to vote using alternative methods like the Internet, the Town of Markham is the largest municipality providing a true online experience. Markham voters have until November 1 to register to vote online and will cast their ballots in advance polls between November 4 and 9.

In 2003, Markham's online voting program helped drive a 300 percent increase in advance poll participation over the last election. Internet voters also represented 17 percent of the registered voters in the election. One in four Internet voters had not voted in the last Markham election, and for those that cast their ballot, an overwhelming 100 per cent of Internet voters and 70 per cent of in-person voters said they would vote online for the next election.

The primary communications hub provides information on both online and 'in line' voting through compelling demos, video and animation. Traditional print and broadcast advertising, out-of-home, public relations, informational kiosks and voicemail broadcasts all work together to raise awareness of e-democracy. This year, additional components were added, including a refreshed site design, mobile text message alerts and an Add Your Voice feature that offers citizens the opportunity to sound off on the voting process and election issues.

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