Some city councillors in Thunder Bay are speaking out after a community next door decided to implement online voting in municipal elections.

They think Shuniah is being progressive, and Thunder Bay should do the same.


Earlier this year, Thunder Bay city council voted against casting ballots online. (istock)

A year from now, voters in the Municipality of Shuniah will either click a mouse, or make a phone call to choose their council, as the 2,800-person community leaves behind a paper-based balloting system.

Reeve Maria Harding said she is a pencil-and-paper person herself, but online voting will engage more property owners in the election.

"Sixty percent of our people do not live in the Municipality of Shuniah. They reside elsewhere — [such as] the City of Thunder Bay, Brampton, anywhere in North America, even in the world,” she said.

Earlier this year, Thunder Bay city council voted against casting ballots online.

Iain Angus was in favour of the idea of “providing the modern way to participate in the democratic process.”

“Once again, Thunder Bay is falling behind other communities,” he said.

Mayor 'happy' with decision

Angus added it's too late for council in Thunder Bay to reverse its stand on electronic voting in 2014.

The earliest that could possibly happen is five years away.

In an email to CBC News, Mayor Keith Hobbs said he’s “happy with the decision made by our council recently and would hope it's not re-visited by this council."

But Councillor Ken Boshcoff said he's heard from groups like the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, who advocate for online voting.

"I think Shuniah is very progressive and completely understanding of the need to include more people in the voting process,” he said.

“And that's the operative word: inclusivity."