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Early morning voting surge slows online election system

City says issue has been addressed, and to contact them if you have questions about your ballot
online voting stock
There have been issues with slowdowns of the online voting system, city officials said Monday, but those issues have been solved and the municipal vote is proceeding normally.

There have been issues with slowdowns of the online voting system, city officials said Monday, but those issues have been solved and the municipal vote is proceeding normally.

City clerk Eric Labelle said they have about 300-350 city staffers fanned out in voting locations across Greater Sudbury to help anyone with voting.

The most common problem they've heard is people not receiving their voting cards or not being on the voter's list.

“I'm not hearing of any huge lineups anywhere,” Labelle said. “We are definitely processing people and there are some wait times for people from time to time, but I'm not hearing about anything overly overly significant.”

There was a big volume of people who tried to vote online this morning, slowing the system down, Labelle said. If anyone trying to vote when the system froze, and now they can't complete their vote, Labelle says they should let them know.

“If an elector has any concerns about whether their ballot was cast, we have the ability to go into our system and confirm that the ballot was in fact deposited into the electronic ballot box and we see the timestamp,” he said. “We can't, of course just to be clear, we can't see how they voted. We can just see that their ballot was cast.”

But Viviane Lapointe, who's working with Patricia Mills's mayoral campaign, said in an email they have received calls from several residents who didn't receive voter cards.

“One couple have lived in their home for over 40 years,” Lapointe said. “The opposite is also true, where several cards were issued at a single residence.”

Greater Sudbury is one of the 194 municipalities in Ontario using online voting this year, out of 444 total. Under provincial legislation, MPAC provides voter lists for all municipalities. Labelle said a particular challenge for MPAC is people who rent and move. 

“The list is a challenge to maintain.”

The city received the preliminary voting list in July, and attempted to make as many corrections as possible – removing duplicates and people who have passed away. 

“But the list will always have some some errors on it, and this is an issue we deal with every election,” Labelle said. “If you went back and looked at 2014 and 2010, they'll be some reporting on it … Every election year we make thousands of corrections to the list and that's pretty standard.”

That's the reason the city has so many people working at voting stations this year, to correct the errors and get people on the list who have been omitted.

“We have a huge number of staff today that are in voting locations, just waiting to assist people with any changes,” he said. “It takes two minutes and we get them voting right away.”

To vote before 8 p.m. this evening when the polls close, bring ID with you to one of the voting stations, Labelle said. Results will all come at once, and should be known between 8:30 and 9 p.m., depending on how many people still have to cast a ballot inside voting stations after 8 p.m.

“Anybody in a location at 8 p.m. gets to exercise their right to vote,” Labelle said. 

If you're not sure where to vote, you can enter your postal code on this page, which also has a list of voting locations.