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Online voting suggestion from St. John's mayor draws mixed response

St. John's mayor says online voting might be one way to address chronically low participation in the capital city's municipal election.

Dennis O'Keefe floats idea he hopes will raise voter turn out.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe is not running for re-election in 2017. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The outgoing mayor of St. John's says online voting might be one way to address chronically low participation in the capital city's municipal elections.

For the past three elections voter turnout has hovered around 50 per cent. Mail-in ballots were used in all of those elections.
It's too late to put your ballot in the mail, but there's a box outside city hall and you can vote in person on Tuesday. (CBC)

While Dennis O'Keefe said he believes mail-in ballots likely increased the turnout, he'd like to give residents another option.

"I'd go one step further to online voting … to get more voters," he said.

On social media people responded both positively and negatively to that idea


Newfoundland and Labrador's privacy commissioner believes online voting is inevitable but warns it must be done properly.

"You want to ensure that the technology is implemented in such a way that your anonymity is preserved but also that the votes are verifiable. We don't want people casting 100 votes because they have hacked the system," said Donovan Molloy.

St. John's residents can still drop off ballots at city hall, or vote there in person or at a station in their ward, on election day — Tuesday, September 26.