Essex Boosting Security Procedures for Proxy Voting

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The Town of Essex is beefing up its proxy voting procedures.

Following controversy after the 2018 municipal election, council asked for a stricter policy which was unanimously approved Monday night.

Under the new rules, the clerk's office will only issue proxy voting forms to the resident making the request and the person appointed as the proxy must provide proof of identification.

Councillor Sherry Bondy has been most vocal about the need for change.

She says the new procedures will help weed out any malicious activity.

"The form is the same. That's a provincial form, but the process in the Town of Essex is very different. Each proxy form will have a serial number on it and also have a town stamp. So there's a lot more checks and balances," says Bondy.

She says administration has put together a rock solid policy.

"Even I can't see any loopholes in this policy. The residents have been waiting for this for a long time," says Bondy. "We're not the police, we can't charge anybody, but what town council can do is fix the policies and the procedures around the election."

She's hoping other municipalities follow suit.

"We need to take it a further step and let every municipality know what we're doing to ensure proxy voting is safe and secure because chances are if there was issues in our election regarding proxy votes there are issues in other small towns. So this, really, should go nation wide," says Bondy.

Another major change to the town's proxy voting procedure is forms will no longer be issued at the poll — the process must be completed prior to voting day.

Last month, Essex council passed a new policy prohibiting the use of town resources during an election as well.

 

With files from Gord Bacon