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Élections Québec announces online voting for some municipalities in 2025

Ballot boxes will still be used by the majority of voters, but some people will have access to online voting in the next municipal election. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Ballot boxes will still be used by the majority of voters, but some people will have access to online voting in the next municipal election. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A handful of voters in Montreal and Laval will be among the first in Quebec to cast their ballots online in next year's municipal elections.

In total, Élections Québec says 21 municipalities have been selected to be part of a pilot project aimed at improving accessibility.

"We studied different experiences of internet voting around the world and in Canada," said spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud-Drolet, noting Ontario already has online voting for municipal elections.

"This study demonstrates that the introduction of online voting doesn't really increase participation."

But online voting can make it easier for voters to participate, she said.

Each municipality will select which districts or boroughs will be able to take part in the pilot project, with the sectors chosen representing about 10 per cent of voters in each selected municipality.

St-Arnaud-Drolet said municipalities will communicate with residents of the selected areas once the election gets underway.

In all, about 300,000 Quebecers will have the option to vote online should they choose.

St-Arnaud-Drolet said Élections Québec is confident there are technological solutions to ensure security. Currently, the elections authority is looking for a company that will supply the needed tools, and security will be taken "very seriously," said St-Arnaud-Drolet.

The next municipal elections are slated for 2025.

Samanth Reusch is the executive director of Apathy is Boring, a non-partisan group that works to get young Canadians engaged in voting. She says giving the convenience of online voting is appealing in an increasingly digital world.

Young people expect to be able to do everything online, she said, but it's a bit early to say if allowing online voting will increase youth participation, as barriers young people face go beyond accessibility or convenience.

Motivational barriers, such as not liking political parties or politicians, tend to discourage youth from participating in elections, she said.

"Municipal elections sort of suffer from the national, big attention," Reusch said. "But I am all for anything that gets people more interested in voting at any level of government."

According to Élections Québec, the participating municipalities have a population of 20,000 or more, vary in profile, and they are located in 15 different administrative regions of Quebec.

The list of participating municipalities include:

  • Baie-Comeau.

  • Belœil.

  • Gatineau.

  • Joliette.

  • Laval.

  • Lévis.

  • Magog.

  • Montreal.

  • Quebec City.

  • Rimouski.

  • Rouyn-Noranda.

  • Sainte-Julie.

  • Saint-Georges.

  • Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

  • Saint-Lazare.

  • Terrebonne.

  • Trois-Rivières.