PEI should lead the way in democratic engagement: Aylward

New technology could revolutionize democratic accessibility, engagement and participation and should be looked at being incorporated into future democratic exercises such as elections and plebiscites, says Opposition Leader James Aylward.

“Electronic voting is the future and here on Prince Edward Island it gives us a chance to improve our already strong record of voter turnout. Strategic investments in the proper technology combined with our small size could let us be a national leader and gather public feedback between elections that would enable elected officials to make informed decisions based of the will of Islanders,” says Aylward.

Electronic or online voting is being explored by a number of jurisdictions around the globe as a way of improving democratic engagement. On Prince Edward Island the 2016 Plebiscite on Democratic Renewal used both online and phone voting to supplement traditional voting practices. According to Elections PEI employing electronic voting cost just over $100,000 for the plebiscite with over 80 per cent of Islanders who voted in the plebiscite doing so online.

“Over 30,000 Islanders voted online in the 2016 plebiscite successfully without any incident. Based on the success of that province wide experiment and the lowering barriers to technology I think that electronic voting is something we should be looking at to improve accessibility, engagement and participation in democratic exercises,” concluded Aylward.