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'Fiasco': Greater Sudbury mayoral candidates share thoughts on electronic voting crash

Voting period has been extended until 8 p.m. tonight; visit starting at 7:30 p.m. for our live election show

A number of local mayoral candidates have shared their thoughts on the extension of the Greater Sudbury municipal election voting period due to the  electronic voting system crashing yesterday.

We're sharing the opinions of Greater Sudbury mayoral candidates who have either issued formal statements or spoken to the media about the issue.

Although he broke the tie in the 2017 vote by Greater Sudbury city council to bring in the electronic voting system for this election, incumbent mayor Brian Bigger blamed city staff for the situation.

Bigger said he was “disgusted” by “tonight’s failure in the election process.”

“I am extremely disappointed in how tonight’s election failed the voters of Greater Sudbury,” the statement reads. “As a candidate and the leader of this city, I am demanding an explanation by City of Greater Sudbury senior staff who put this process in place and why there was no back up plan in place.”

Further, Bigger demanded an investigation and said those responsible would be held accountable.

Dan Melanson spoke to members of the media outside of Tom Davies Square last night after city staff held a press conference about the voting extension.

He said if he's elected mayor, the city will return to a combined electronic/paper system for the 2022 election.

“I think this is something that I could classify as a blunder, perhaps as a Bigger Blunder,” Melanson said.

“This is unheard of. I think it speaks to the fact that someone put price before value because they talked about saving $800,000 by going with this online system. And really, what did we save?”

When asked if he will be challenging the election results because of the situation, Melanson said there's nothing to indicate that the data has been corrupted.

“I think that depends on what the numbers look like or if there's any indication that the ballots that have been cast already have been in any way corrupted,” he said.

“If that's not the case, the delay, in and of itself, I don't think warrants a court action.”

Cody Cacciotti said on his Facebook page that he was the first mayoral candidate to express concerns about the way the electronic voting was being handled.

“Tonight’s extended Voting Deadline is a symptom of a system that was poorly planned and rushed to completion,” he said.

“Since the beginning, my campaign team has been inundated with voters who were unhappy with the completely electronic voting. This voting emergency and last minute extension shows the lack of a backup plan that should have been in place to contend with this avoidable outcome. Tonight’s fiasco reaffirms my belief that our citizens would be best served with system that allows both paper and online voting and ensures ever vote is counted.” also spoke to Cacciotti about the situation last night during our live election show. You can watch the coverage from Monday night here.

In a written statement, Patricia Mills called on Bigger to take responsibility for approving the new voting system “which resulted in an unprecedented failure for the City of Greater Sudbury’s citizens."

“Mr. Bigger has proven that he does not respect the rights of citizens when he approved this untried, unproven and untested system. Casting the blame elsewhere is inappropriate,” said Mills. 

The electronic voting plan was approved by mayor and council last spring, she said. This timeline would have allowed ample opportunity for Bigger to monitor the plan, including a contingency plan should the electronic system fail. 
“The mayor’s statement continues to reject any personal accountability,” Mills said.

“He voted for this system and it was his job as mayor to ensure people’s democratic right. Instead, Mr. Bigger has placed expediency and cost above democratic rights and accountability.”

Jeff Huska said in a written statement that “pencil and paper” is the oldest and most reliable way to vote. He said he is frustrated with the incomplete vote from Oct. 22 that needed to be extended until 8 p.m. on Oct. 23.

“Everyone was concerned that something could go wrong and unfortunately it did,” he said. “What made things worse was there was no back-up plan.”

He said what troubled him most wasn’t the possible failure or “crash” of the system, but that online voting takes away the actual act of going to a polling station and voting from people like seniors.

He also believes the city has now introduced the opportunity to sway votes eliminating the act being completely private, and accuses some election officials of doing just that, swaying voters to vote a certain way.

“For many voters this election, they couldn’t vote for various technical reasons or because they simply didn’t understand the process and required help from family, friends and most shocking, campaign candidates' volunteers,” Huska said.

“Stories of candidates' volunteers explaining the process to seniors and then knowingly manipulating the outcome, have run rampant.

“That is the very reason I would not allow anyone from my team go to seniors' homes with an iPad or laptop. I didn’t want someone pointing the finger saying one of my volunteers swayed their vote. Unfortunately, I don’t believe every candidate acted appropriately but as we all know, politics is a dirty game and some will stoop to any level.”

Bill Crumplin is calling for a new vote altogether.

"The only way for the new council to be elected and have the respect of the electorate is to have a new vote," he said,. "A paper ballot vote, and soon.  This is needed because there is way too much on the line in the way of large projects etc., to have a mayor and council in place for four years without knowing if they were elected legitimately.” will be providing another live election show tonight starting at 7:30 p.m., in which we hope to bring you the election results.

In the meantime, you can watch’s municipal election livestream from Oct. 22 below. 


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