Thunder Bay

Over 60 per cent of votes in Thunder Bay municipal election cast online, telephone

The 2018 municipal election marked the first time ever voters in Thunder Bay, Ont., were able to cast their votes online, or by telephone, for the city's next council and mayor.

Over 41,000 people voted in the 2018 municipal election

A little over 41,000 people voted in the 2018 municipal election in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Zahra Premji/CBC)

The 2018 municipal election marked the first time ever voters in Thunder Bay, Ont., were able to cast their votes online, or by telephone, for the city's next council and mayor.

Online and telephone ballots "represented 63% of the votes that were cast," City Clerk John Hannam told CBC News.

He said a little over 41,000 people voted in the 2018 election, which is "up from the previous election but "on average, historically."

"Lots of positive feedback on the online voting," Hannam added. But there are "a few things we can learn from telephone voting in terms of how we communicate out to the community, so they better understand the instructions."

Minor delays

Voters in Thunder Bay did not experience long delays, such as what happened in many communities in northeastern Ontario. However, there was "a little delay producing the online votes," said Hannam.

"We did have some slow down in our system in the last 10 to 15 minutes before eight o'clock, so it slowed a little bit but it never stopped," Hannam said.

He explained that while the computer software program was decrypting the votes, the program got "hung up" which prompted a re-boot. Then, Hannman and his team of about 150 people had to physically transfer the numbers from the software to the city's website.

"Frustrations that you hear from voters ... to me, are an expression of people's dedication to voting and how important they see it, so we take it with a grain of salt," Hannam said.

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