Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ontario Provincial Elections 2018 (June 7)

On June 6, Ontario elected a new premier and made the governing party unofficial. More importantly for me, it was the first election with “electronic polling”, in an act pioneered by the municipal government and soon to be followed by the feds.

VoteOntario123Having had some experience working for Elections Canada in what seems to be its last paper-based election, I looked forward to what promised to be the first “electronic voting” experience, if we don’t count the municipal ones.

In the Canadian Federation, a lot of power is concentrated at the provincial level (I would argue that that’s MOST of it, with the Federal government being mostly general and the Municipal having low administrative duties).

As such, about a month before the elections, I set out to check and update my voting registration online. I had moved a lot in the past four years and there’s no way they had my registration current.

I was surprised to find that Elections Ontario checked for the Postal Code:


Even home owners move around. Checking the postal code from the start makes no sense, as it is unlikely that the information is current. A saner check would be to first identify a person by their name and DOB, then allow them to update their address. Checking for the name, address and postal code in one shot is likely to result in a “not found” error and, by forcing what could be a second registration, cause potential duplicates in the database.

Sorry, we could not find you on the Voters List with the following information:

Full Name

Date of Birth

Home Address

This address is used to determine your electoral district and voting location.

The online service to add or update your information on the Voters List is closed for the election. If you need to update or add your information to the Voters List, you can always do it in person when you go to vote.

Never mind, I thought. Why don’t I just apply for a job (elec-apply) with these guys and I’ll vote while helping others vote. At least that way, I can update my info with these guys and then voting should be easier.

I was easily able though to find my electoral district (elect-112) and a list of candidates.

  • CHRISTOFF, DARYL - The New People's Choice Party of Ontario
  • DAVIS, JO-ANN - Ontario Liberal Party
  • GRANT, TIM - Green Party of Ontario
  • MACLEOD, DOUG - Independent
  • MILAN, HILTON - Party for People with Special Needs
  • SMITH, GILLIAN - PC Party of Ontario
  • SWIM, RYAN – Libertarian

For my district, the Liberal (more or less incumbent) was projected (epred-112) to keep their seat, so there was an opportunity for strategic voting. I wrote “more or less” because this district was gerrymandered out of two Liberal districts: 68.73% of Trinity-Spadina, with Han Dong (L) and 31.27% of Toronto Centre, with Glen Murray (also Liberal). In the 2015 Federal election, Chrystia Freeland had gotten 50%, NDP’s Hollett’s got 28.60% and PC’s Jivraj got 17.50%. So despite Wynne’s bad name, I thought that this riding would stay Liberal.

I thus applied online (elec-jobs) and was called the next day by someone from Elections Ontario, whom I called back, and she went through the text of my online application, confirming everything, then telling me I’ll get a call from someone else. Somebody else called me, I called them back, then they assigned me as an RDRO, or “Revision DRO”. Unlike a DRO, who only checks someone’s ID and issues a ballot (read-only DB access), an RDRO can make direct changes in the voter database and add new voters.

I then went for training for a couple of hours (where I was given two well-designed guides) about 3 days before the election, I then met the SDRO (supervisor), the other RDRO and the scanning guy (poll clerk?) at the polling station, where we waited for our supplies. When they arrived, we connected the modem/hotspot and powered on the little laptops with touch-screens (they seemed overkill for what they were used for) as well as the printer, made sure everything , stored everything and then left (this also took 2-3h, mostly waiting for the EO van).


Then the election happened, and all the major networks ran specials – GN, CBC, P&P, CN – while printed media made videos: ml-emember, np-bestmmnt, oc-tech.

I will finish updating this shortly


Sources / More info: elec-faq, elec-jobs, elect-112, epred-112, cbc-irreg, cbc-prob, elec-scrut(PDF), elec-candd8(PDF), elect-hsehPDF, ford-compass, elec-empFAQ, elec-apply, eo-internal

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