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LETTER: Oro-Medonte sending mixed messages to residents

Reader wonders why township is hosting virtual meeting while calling into question safety of online voting
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OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a letter regarding voting methods in Oro-Medonte, published Aug. 1.
Informed but confused.

I recently received a notice of a virtual open house and a virtual public meeting related to the review of the Oro-Medonte’s Official Plan under the signature of Andria Leigh, deputy CAO and director of development services. Both of these meetings are going to be livestreamed over the internet for public viewing and participation — “due to the evolving public health situation (COVID-19).”

Isn’t this the same internet system that was deemed by four members of this township’s council as being unsafe to use for voting in the upcoming election? If it is, and the public meetings are being livestreamed to protect public safety, why are we being told that voting in person using paper ballots is safer than voting in the upcoming election via internet or by telephone? And doesn’t viewing the livestreamed meetings involve using a computer?

This is where the confusion comes in. Apparently, one councillor said she thought that voting by using a computer would be too difficult for older folks like me and she cited her father as an example. By the numbers I guess that I’m old, but heck, I conduct business with my computer all of the time as do most of my similarly aged friends and neighbours.

Which brings me to my second point and more confusion. My wife and I are up to date on our COVID booster shots since we’re seniors and concerned about our health and vulnerability. If those members of council who voted to eliminate internet voting were honestly concerned about the health of voters, why would they overlook the potential for voters becoming infected by voting in person at a voting station? And if we choose advance voting to avoid the larger crowds on election day, Oct. 24, there are only three locations to do so.

To appease resident anger over their cancelling of internet voting (a cover-your-butt proviso), council is allowing us to vote using a vote-by-mail kit, which, ironically, for we seniors, involves using our computer and the internet to visit the township’s election webpage. Alternatively, the kits can be picked up and dropped off only at the township administration centre and only between specific dates.

In the face of this frustrating situation created by our council, and if you are concerned about your health or have mobility or transportation issues, I suggest you use the vote-by-mail kit. And if you’re an old guy like me and able to use a computer, go to the township website and order the kit by Sept. 12.

What’s most confusing is that if this council truthfully cared about the health of township residents as they would have us believe, and want to increase voter participation as was the case in the last election with internet voting, why would they cancel it for this election? Confusing, or are there other motives involved as Mr. Young suggests?

Allan Baker