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Poll: Should Guelph Allow Online Voting Again?

The Guelph City Council is exploring the possibility of introducing online voting for the upcoming municipal election. This initiative, strongly supported by the city’s accessibility advisory committee (AAC), aims to increase voter turnout and improve accessibility.

Other Ontario municipalities, such as Markham, Ottawa, and Kingston, have successfully implemented secure online voting systems. These cities have demonstrated that online voting can be both secure and effective, with robust measures in place to prevent fraud and technical issues.

Should Guelph Allow Online Voting in Municipal Elections

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In today’s digital age, people routinely use online platforms for banking, submitting taxes, and other secure services. These activities involve sensitive information and have proven to be safe and reliable. Online voting can similarly provide a secure, convenient way for citizens to participate in elections.

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The 2022 municipal election in Guelph saw one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent history. In contrast, the last time Guelph implemented online voting, the city experienced one of its highest voter turnouts. This evidence suggests that online voting can significantly boost electoral participation.

The discussion around online voting is part of a broader effort by Guelph to modernize its electoral process. Alternatives such as vote-by-mail and home voting services are also being considered as complementary methods to traditional in-person voting.

The final decision will depend on the findings of the staff report and subsequent council deliberations. If approved, Guelph could see a significant shift in how residents participate in their local democracy by the 2026 municipal election, making voting more accessible and convenient for everyone.

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