College Council Election to Be Conducted Electronically | Call for Nominations | New Council Members | Interest Grows for Teacher Job Fair | Bernard Adam Apppointed Chair of Discipline Committee | College Issues First Professional Advisory | Credentials Checking Process Helps Protect Profession's Integrity | Providers' Area Up and Running | Individual Learning Options Broaden PLP Credit Possibilities | Teach Ontario Site Makes Finding and Filling Teaching Jobs Easier | Teachers Holding Permanent Letters of Standing Urged to Join the College | 2003 Budget Approved with Fee Increase Offsets PLP Costs | Dispute Resolution Program Reports | Discipline Panel Decisions
2003 COUNCIL ELECTION
Council Election to Be Conducted Electronically
Point-and-click technology makes paper ballots obsolete.
FOR the first time, the College will conduct its election for 17 Council members electronically-at no cost to democracy but at tremendous cost savings to members.
In 2000, the College spent $504,637 to process, send, receive and tabulate mail-in ballots. Now, with the advent of a secure, members'-only area on the College web site, elections can be managed electronically, still meet College regulations and save close to $265,000.
On top of that, voting will be easier than ever.
As of March 3, the College will post personalized ballots for members in good standing. Members who have pre-registered on the Members' Area and have password entry can immediately access the Council election area and need only mouse-click next to the names of their desired candidates. Once selected and sent, the form disappears. Ballots will be available until April 14.
"Call it readily accessible democracy," says College Registrar Joe Atkinson. "New technology enables us to respect members' privacy, increase efficiencies and slash costs. It's really quite astounding."
E-voting eliminates first-class mailing costs for 187,000 members and drastically cuts expenditures for printing and tabulation. As well, it removes the logistical and administrative complexities of ensuring that the correct paper ballot reaches the voter when dealing with 187,000 members and 30 ballot options. Early estimates pegged costs of running a mail-in ballot election in 2003 at more than $600,000.
Besides cutting costs, the ease of the new system should increase participation in the 2003 election. As well, the one-time investment in initial hardware and software for e-voting will result in additional savings for the 2006 election.
A major concern with e-voting is security. But, says Devon Stutt, the College's manager of Information Technology, security and ease of use were tied for top priority in the development of the new electronic voting system.
"The Members' Area of the College web site uses the same high level of encryption-128 bit-that banks use to protect online transactions," says Stutt.
Members will choose when to access their ballot, but once they vote, their file is flagged so they can't vote again. The vote itself is stored in a separate database with no ability to know which member cast which ballot.
Given on-line access at schools, school boards, faculties of education, the Ministry of Education and public institutions such as municipal libraries, in addition to home-based computers, College members should have access to a choice of sites from which to vote. According to the Education Improvement Commission, all schools in the province have online access and more than half of the College's members are registered with the Education Network of Ontario, an internet service provider for teachers, and will be able to vote from home.
Once the votes are in, the tabulations will be automatic. As in past Council elections, the Registrar will appoint an auditing firm to tabulate the results and authenticate the integrity of the process, procedures, confidentiality and reporting.
The Registrar will announce the results within two business days after the close of voting, once the auditor accounts for the electronic tabulation of the votes and presents its official statement.
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