Technical problems force many Ontario municipalities to extend voting
Some municipalities, including Pembroke, Waterloo, Prince Edward County, Greater Sudbury, and several communities in the Muskoka region, will keep polls open due to technical issues
TORONTO – Many voters in Ontario will continue to cast ballots today after technical difficulties forced at least a dozen municipalities to extend voting in local elections.
Dominion Voting Systems, a company that provides tabulation systems in Canada and the U.S., said in a statement that 51 municipalities were impacted by a glitch that stalled online voting for at least 90 minutes.
While many impacted communities kept polls open for one or two extra hours, several opted to declare emergencies under the Municipal Elections Act and extend voting for a full day.
Some of those municipalities include Pembroke, Waterloo, Prince Edward County, Greater Sudbury, and several communities in the Muskoka region.
The rest of Ontario’s 417 municipal races went off without technical trouble, but there was no lack of drama.
While John Tory easily cruised to re-election in Toronto’s mayoral race, a closer contest in Brampton, Ont., saw former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown defeat incumbent Linda Jeffrey.
Brown’s win comes less than a year after he was ousted as provincial party leader amid allegations of sexual misconduct which he has consistently denied.
In Thunder Bay, Ont., another close race saw former Liberal cabinet minister Bill Mauro voted in as mayor.
Other former politicians with successful mayoral bids included former provincial transport minister Kathryn McGarry in Cambridge, Ont., and previous Conservative Member of Parliament Joe Preston in St. Thomas, Ont.
Dominion attributed Monday’s election-night delays to “slow traffic” it blamed on an unnamed Toronto “internet co-location provider” for placing a limit on incoming voting traffic. Dominion said the issue was eventually resolved, but many voters still complained of problems.
“Dominion regrets the challenges that our system-load issue posed for both election officials and voters alike,” the company said in its statement. “It is important to note that at no time was the integrity of the system at risk of compromise, or in any way insecure.”
One other Ontario municipality is also waiting to provide results, though this delay was anticipated well in advance.
The City of London, Ont., the first to hold an election using ranked ballots, previously announced results may not be available until the day after polls closed.
Unlike the widely used first-past-the-post system, ranked ballots will see voters pick their first, second and third choices. If no candidate receives an absolute majority on the first ballot, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their supporters’ second-choice votes are counted. That continues until one candidate receives more than 50 per cent.