“Ultimately, what you want to achieve with an election is an open and transparent process that the most people can access,” Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom.

Town council approved the use of internet and telephone voting for the second election in a row Thursday. All six Muskoka municipalities used the method in the 2018 election, but Bracebridge’s Chief Election Official Lori McDonald explains the system provided by Dominion Voting Systems experienced a major slowdown with about an hour and a half left on election night. “That was essentially caused by a cap that was placed on that bandwidth by their provider so all incoming voter traffic essentially slowed basically to a halt,” she says. 

“Every election has some issue that’s associated with it,” McDonald says. “That really just goes with the territory.”

The town has got assurance from Dominion that the issue has since been fixed, but McDonald says it’s not a guarantee they will be the service provider by the time the 2022 election rolls around. A request for proposals has been put out by town staff to find the perfect vendor. 

McDonald presented statistics on elections in town dating back to 1985. Last time out, the turnout was 39-percent, compared to the 42-percent that voted in 2014, which was the last year vote by mail was used. “Some may point to the last election and say well that didn’t drive it higher, but we know that by using technology it’s opening it up to more people,” Smith adds. It’s his hope that this method also inspires more young people to vote.

“So many services people use on a day-to-day basis are provided by municipalities,” Smith says. “I would think it would be the one people are most engaged in.”

The next municipal election is scheduled for Monday, October 24th, 2022.