For the first time ever in the North, Iqaluit voters will use electronic tabulation machines during the Oct. 15 municipal election.

But renting the machines costs almost $10,000, plus the cost of flying a trainer from Toronto.

"We will see, I think [there will be] a savings in terms of manpower at the end of the election when there will be a reduced number of man hours to count the ballots," said Kirt Ejesiak, the chief returning officer.


Kirt Ejesiak, Iqaluit's chief returning officer, said the machines will be able to count votes much faster. (CBC)

Ejesiak said results could come in as fast as 30 minutes after polls close because the machines count as people cast their votes.

In the past, the counting has taken up to six hours.

The 2009 election was close and the final number resulted in a recount. Ejesiak said city council asked him to find a better way for voters to cast their ballots.

"The only difference is, after they mark their ‘X’, instead of sticking it in the box, they feed it through an electronic tabulation machine and it goes to a secure box after."

City council allocated $90,000 for this year's election, which is on par with what has been used in the past.

Machines not accepted in all provinces

The machines were used for the first time in Canada in the New Brunswick  municipal elections in 2008. This past spring, that province had problems with delayed results.

The machines are banned in Quebec after the province’s chief electoral officer wrote a scathing report about them in 2005. The officer reported there were issues with machines misreading ballots.

Ejesiak said he will issue a report at the end of the election on how the machines worked.