Media releases

  • Brock researcher says it’s time to prepare for online voting

    MEDIA RELEASE: 16 October 2018 – R00182

    A Brock University professor says the increasing participation in advance election polls is an indication that Canada is ready for online voting.

    Although overall voter turnout is declining or staying low, Political Science Assistant Professor Nicole Goodman says the public’s desire is for more flexibility when it comes to voting. But advanced polls are not the only way to boost voter turnout.

    In 2014, 97 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities used online voting. When Ontarians go to the polls on Monday, Oct. 22 for the 2018 municipal elections, 194 are expected to use the voting technology.

    Goodman’s research indicates that a majority of voters, candidates and administrators want to see online voting implemented for elections in Canada. The primary reasons for wanting it include improved voter convenience, access and turnout.

    A decade ago, the primary reasons cited by Elections Canada for low voter turnout were a lack of interest or apathy. Today, “everyday life issues” are cited as the reasons for not participating, including mobility issues, illness, being too busy or being away from home.

    Goodman’s research highlights some ways technology can break down existing barriers to participation in the electoral process. Online voting, for example, enhances voter accessibility, allowing people to vote wherever they are. A candidate running in the City of Cambridge recently posted a nude photo of himself as part of an international campaign promoting online voting dubbed #VoteNaked.

    For some, voting from home could be a matter of convenience. For others, such people with mobility issues, seasonal residents and those in remote communities, the technology could be the difference between voting or not.

    It has also become an important tool for voter accessibility in many Indigenous communities across Canada. Goodman and fellow researchers Chelsea Gabel, of McMaster University, and Brian Budd, of the University of Guelph, have found online voting can be a key tool for engaging First Nations members living off-reserve.

    Online voting could help students, as well.

    “Voting is not as easy when you’re away at school,” says Goodman. “Students may be unfamiliar with the community, not know where to vote, or feel uncomfortable voting in their new community. Or they may not have the proper identification to vote locally.”

    Surprisingly, Goodman found that, while some cited privacy as a key concern of online voting, others cited privacy as a benefit to the technology.

    The challenge to policy-makers, she says, is to modernize voting processes while maintaining the integrity of elections. One way to enhance technical knowledge and raise the bar of security in community elections, she argues, is for the federal government to proactively collaborate and consult with experts and develop voluntary guidelines for online voting use. Although Canada has more online voting activity than most countries, there are no standards or guidelines dealing with electronic voting technologies.

    “Canada should look at developing technical and operational guidelines. Such a document would boost technical knowledge in communities across the country and be a step toward enhancing electoral integrity,” Goodman says.

    “Electoral modernization is going to happen,” she said recently in an interview on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. “Maybe it starts with an electronic voters list, registration, or maybe tabulation. But, eventually it’s going to move to online or digital voting.”

    Goodman’s Electronic Elections Project with Ryerson’s Michael McGregor, University of Toronto’s Zachary Spicer and Carleton’s Scott Pruysers is continuing this research by examining what happens when paper voting is eliminated in municipal elections. The project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Cuvée Grand Tasting to celebrate Ontario VQA wine for 31st year

    MEDIA RELEASE: 16 October 2018 – R00181

    Mark your calendars for one of the most sought-after wine events. The annual Cuvée Grand Tasting has been set for Saturday, March 23, 2019.

    The event will be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls and is the largest celebration of VQA wine of its kind, featuring more than 100 wine selections from Ontario’s top winemakers.

    Online tickets are now available and wine and food enthusiasts can take advantage of early-bird prices.

    This marks the fifth year that Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has taken the lead in organizing Cuvée, a weekend-long celebration of Ontario VQA wine and local cuisine from chefs from across the region.

    “Not only does Cuvée showcase the finest VQA wines to consumers, it supports the growth of the grape and wine industry by funding valuable research and student scholarships,” says CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, adding that more than $122,000 has been generated for the Cuvée Legacy Fund over the past four years.

    Cuvée 2019 will see the return of the popular “Winemakers’ Favourite Wines” feature, along with gourmet food delicacies prepared by celebrated chefs at live cooking stations, and an Après Cuvée party with live music and selections from micro-breweries, cideries and VQA wineries.

    Cuvée Manager Barb Tatarnic said the 2018 event drew a record crowd to the Grand Tasting event, with nearly 900 guests in attendance.

    “It really is a unique experience because those aren’t just any wines, they are the selections of the winemakers themselves,” said Tatarnic. “We’re thrilled with Cuvée’s success and the positive feedback we’ve received from our guests.”

    During the weekend-long event, the Cuvée en Route passport program allows ticket holders access to exclusive tasting flights at more than 30 Niagara wineries from March 22 to 24. Passports are included with the Grand Tasting or can also be purchased individually for $30.

    For more information or to purchase tickets to the Cuvée Grand Tasting or en Route passports, visit cuvee.ca

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    * Britt Dixon, Communications Officer, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University bdixon@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4471

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    Categories: Media releases