Limited Internet and telephone voting will be available for Toronto’s upcoming municipal election, but only for residents with disabilities.
The city said Thursday that the service will be available during advance voting from Oct. 14-19.
“We are very excited to be conducting this pilot project,” city clerk Ulli Watkiss said in a statement.
“It is important that our electoral services are accessible and create positive voting experiences for all. By providing greater choices we are working to make voting more accessible to persons with disabilities.”
It’s expected that up to 50,000 Toronto residents with disabilities may use Internet voting, a city spokesperson said in an email. There are an estimated 400,000 people with disabilities in the city.
Watkiss said the service would “enfranchise” voters who have difficulty accessing polling station.
Council approved the voting changes during its February meeting. At the same time, council awarded the contract to Scytl Canada Inc. at a cost of $930,000.
“Scytl is excited to be working with the City of Toronto to enfranchise voters with disabilities via our online and telephone voting solutions,” Scytle sales director Davi Bosch said in a statement.
“These have been successfully implemented in counties, cities, states and countries across the globe and we are confident that they will meet all of the expectations of the City of Toronto and its voters with disabilities.”
City spokesperson Wynna Brown said the pilot program was specifically aimed at residents with disabilities, and it’s not possible to say whether Internet voting increases voter turnout.
However, the city is committed to increasing the accessibility of elections, Brown said.
Click here for more information on internet voting.
The municipal held will be held on Oct. 27.