Towards elections by internet in 2025?
Elections Quebec wants to introduce online voting for the 2025 municipal elections as part of a pilot project.
An Internet voting pilot project for the next municipal elections in 2025 has been launched. This project is inspired by a study carried out among the Quebec population interested in online voting.
“We are considering a collaboration with an external company,” says Élections Québec spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet. We have targeted a hundred requirements in terms of security, accessibility and reliability and we are trying to see what solutions are available on the market to meet our requirements. We seek to recreate the secrecy of the vote, the integrity of the vote and we wish to transpose our electoral process into virtual mode. This project could ultimately not succeed if the terms and conditions do not ensure quality online voting.”
The municipal and provincial levels being subject to two separate electoral laws, a collaboration between the Ministère des Municipal Affairs and selected municipalities will be essential as well.
Increase accessibility to the vote
The spokesperson for Élections Québec specifies that to date no municipality has been chosen, but that collaboration with municipalities of 20,000 inhabitants and more in different administrative regions is envisaged.
“The configuration is still under study, but we want to limit the vote to certain districts chosen in advance. Therefore, citizens who wish to vote online could only do so if they have a matching address in order to test this new voting method more effectively,” says Ms. St-Arnaud Drolet.
This new method also corresponds Élections Québec’s desire to increase accessibility to the vote, but does not aim to increase the rate of participation in elections, a nuance that the spokesperson wishes to emphasize. “We want to increase the accessibility to the vote, and not the participation in the vote. The study we conducted on this did not allow us to determine that Internet voting would increase the rate of participation in elections. In 2021, for example, voting by mail was possible because of all the problems that the pandemic had caused in terms of holding face-to-face elections, but the turnout was down.”
The Internet voting would remain an additional measure. In-person voting would remain the method used under the existing arrangements.