POLITICS

Kelly concerned by NDP e-voting problems

03/25/2012 06:33 EDT | Updated 05/25/2012 05:12 EDT

The Halifax Regional Municipality will take a close look at the e-voting problems experienced at the federal NDP leadership convention because it is planning to use the same Spanish company in the October municipal election.

Mayor Peter Kelly said ensuring the integrity of the vote in the Halifax region is of the utmost importance.

"We take the voting aspect very, very seriously and I think to be fair to all parties we have to make sure there is a thorough review and investigation of this situation,"he said Sunday.

"Then if there is a threat of this in the upcoming election, then we need to take that very seriously and determine the best way forward."

Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, from Spain, won the contract after underbidding Intelivote Systems Inc. of Dartmouth by more than $300,000. Intelivote provided online and telephone voting for the previous two municipal elections.

It's unclear what caused the problems at the NDP convention, Kelly said, but he expects an investigation will determine the cause of the delays.

Party officials say someone outside the party tried to gain access to the voting system, triggering alarms and causing the system to shut down.

Some NDP supporters who were trying to vote for a new leader were frustrated after it took more than an hour to cast their ballot. Party officials said the integrity of the voting system was never compromised, but the hacking did cause lengthy delays.

They said they've isolated two IP addresses involved in the attempt to overwhelm the voting system.

Kelly said it's unfair to blame the company until a full investigation is complete. However, he says, HRM will go elsewhere for the service if that's what needed to ensure voting in the October municipal election is not compromised.