08/09/2012 04:19 EDT | Updated 12/07/2012 04:49 EST

Elections BC Considers Online Voting


B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond has asked Elections BC to convene an independent panel of experts to consider the potential of internet voting in British Columbia.

The panel review, which begins in September, would kickstart a conversation about modernizing B.C.'s electoral processes, but there's no indication when the panel will be selected or how long it will have to complete its work.

Bond says if the independent panel can ensure the integrity of ballots cast online, she's optimistic it could make voting even more accessible in the province.

The province's deputy chief electoral officer Nola Western said online voting systems have already been used in some Canadian cities, including Halifax and Markham, Ont.

Western admitted internet voting did not increase voter turnout in those cities, but she said there could be other potential benefits.

"Turnout isn't the only potential benefit of internet voting," she said. "It certainly would help accessibility, especially for voters with disabilities."

Western said it will be up to the legislature to decide whether to implement online voting, but it's unlikely that could be done before the next provincial election in May 2013.

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