YELLOWKNIFE (July 29, 2023) – Online voting will be available for NWT residents who can’t make it to the polls on October 3, 2023, the date of the upcoming territorial general election. Elections NWT has introduced new rules and regulations, the first of their kind in the country, that govern the use of online voting for absentee ballots, improving accessibility for any NWT residents who may face physical or logistical issues in visiting a polling station to cast their vote.
The majority of voting will still be cast in person with paper ballots, whether it be on election day, at an advance poll, mobile poll or at the Office of the Returning Officer, but the new online voting procedures offer yet another option for NWT voters. Elections NWT seeks to eliminate as many barriers to voting as possible.
The new rules and regulations are the result of much hard work, expertise, and collaboration, beginning when Stephen Dunbar, the Chief Electoral Officer of the NWT, first convened a meeting with leading Canadian experts on online voting in June 2022.
Since then, working with assistance from several other Canadian elections agencies and the Digital Governance Standards Institute, Elections NWT has refined and fully developed this new set of regulations governing online voting, including technical requirements for online voting vendors.
Registration for absentee voting will become available on August 21, two weeks before the writ is issued for the upcoming territorial election.
- In March 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed a motion requiring that any future use of online voting be governed by regulations under the Elections and Plebiscites Act.
- In June 2022, the CEO of Elections NWT convened a meeting with leading experts in online voting: Dr. Nicole Goodman, Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, and Director of the Centre for e-Democracy; and Dr. Aleksander Essex, Associate Professor of Software Engineering at Western University.
- The professors presented on their work, which included valuable insights into the use of online voting at the municipal level across Canada, online voting’s merits and risks, and important points for consideration when deciding whether, where and when to use online voting.
- Guidelines and technical standards were established with the assistance of the Digital Governance Standards Institute (DGSI), which works to enable greater trust and confidence in Canada’s digital systems through the development of technology governance standards.
- The Territorial General Election will be held on October 3, 2023. The writs are issued on September 4, 2023.
- Elections NWT: electionsnwt.ca
- Digital Governance Standards Institute: Dgc-cgn.org
- NWT Elections and Plebiscite Act
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