Whitehorse moves to electronic ballot counting

Computers will count the ballots during the next Whitehorse municipal election. The system won't be completely electronic. Instead, voters will continue to mark their choice on a piece of paper.

Computers will count the ballots during the next Whitehorse municipal election.

The system won’t be completely electronic. Instead, voters will continue to mark their choice on a piece of paper. But ballots will then be put through an electronic reader for tallying.

Retaining paper ballots means that, if there are any concerns, a manual recount can still be done, said city councillor John Streicker.

That happened in 2011 when two candidates vying for the final councillor seat were within two votes of each other.

After a recount, they ended up being three votes apart.

The cost of the electronic ballot readers are expected to be covered by savings made by a new agreement between the city and Elections Canada.

The city expects savings in the neighbourhood of $70,000 to $80,000 by not having to compile its own list. Those funds will be made available to support the electronic system, Streicker said, although the exact cost of it remains unknown.

Streicker said he hopes the changes will lead to an increase in voter turnout in the next municipal election.

Elections Canada invests a lot of money into their lists so they typically have better ones than the city does, Streicker said.

“A better list means fewer swear-ins, which means more convenience. More convenience means more votes.”

If people see they’re not on a list, they’re less likely to want to vote, said Streicker.

Voter turnout for the 2012 municipal election was low at approximately 43 per cent, and even lower at 37 per cent in 2009.

That’s compared to the roughly 76 per cent turnout for the last territorial election.

Streicker said voter lists would be shared between polling stations around the city, making it easier for people to vote where it’s most convenient for them.

“If you want to vote near work because it’s more convenient, the list will be shared and live, meaning other polling stations will know where and when you voted,” he said.

“If you’re running around to bring your kids somewhere and you don’t have time to get to your polling station, you might not vote. But if we make it more flexible, we hope we’ll capture more people.”

Streicker said details should be finalized by the spring, as elections are typically prepared six months ahead of time.

Contact Myles Dolphin at


Just Posted

Yukon government reveals proposed pot rules

‘We’re under a tight timeline, everybody is Canada is, so we’re doing this in stages’

Michael Nehass released from custody in B.C.

Yukon man who spent years in WCC awaiting peace bond application, faces no charges

Phase 5 of Whistle Bend a go

Next phase of subdivision will eventually be home to around 750 people

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

Human rights hearing over Destruction Bay pantsing put off until next year

Motel co-owner accused in case did not attend hearing due to illness

Survey this: How does Yukon’s health care rate?

Since the government loves questionnaires so much, how about one on health care?

Beware of debt

Don’t be a Trudeau, Silver

Project near Takhini Hot Springs to measure Yukon’s geothermal potential

The results could open the door for a new, green way of generating power in the Yukon

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Most Read