Cranbrook to use electronic voting machines next election

Votes in the next municipal election will be tallied much faster

Cranbrook will know the results of the next municipal election within half an hour of the close of voting thanks to electronic voting machines.

At Monday, Feb. 17’s regular meeting, council adopted a bylaw to authorize the purchase of automated voting machines, at a cost of between $12,000 and $14,000.

“Electronic voting will make the results come so much faster,” said Councillor Diana J. Scott. “It’s supposed to be more accurate. Many other communities have been using them with really good effect. The cost of the machines is pretty well even to hiring staff to do the counting of the ballots.”

More than 70 municipalities in B.C. use automated voting machines, including Nelson, Trail and Castlegar. Of cities similar to Cranbrook’s size in B.C., only Terrace and Prince Rupert don’t use the machine.

As well as quickly counting the ballots, the electronic voting machines are more accurate.

“The other thing it does is it tells you right away if your ballot is spoiled so that you can go back and do it again,” said Mayor Wayne Stetski. “There was somewhere between 700 and 800 spoiled ballots in the last election. It should mean no more spoiled ballots, which will be great.”

The next municipal election will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014.