BACKGROUND Located in southwestern Ontario, the City of Cambridge is known as the gateway to Canada’s Technology Triangle in the Waterloo region. Cambridge is one of the fastest growing areas of the country, with a population of approximately 130,000 people. Since 1991, the City of Cambridge has successfully used optical scan tabulators for their elections, and has embraced the use of technology to enhance the delivery of services to its citizens.
In Cambridge, municipal elections are held every four years, with the offices of Mayor, Regional Chair, Regional Councillor, Ward Councillor and School Trustee up for election in the City’s eight wards. Interested in engaging more voters for their 2014 municipal election, the City of Cambridge looked into alternative voting methods, including the latest and most advanced voting technologies.
The City researched solutions that would provide the greatest convenience and accessibility to their electorate, while ensuring complete confidence in the integrity of the voting process. They chose Dominion’s solution, which offered the security, flexibility and integration that Cambridge needed, along with comprehensive customer service, support, and training to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.
What Dominion Delivered.
Dominion provided a full turnkey voting solution for the City of Cambridge that included:
- 55 ImageCast® Precinct vote tabulators used for advance polls and on Election Day with Vote Anywhere capabilities
- Accessible voting solutions offered at the polls, and through Internet and telephone voting
- Integration with the City’s existing software for elector management and automatic strike-off, ensuring that every voter was entitled to one vote
- Fully integrated results reporting across all voting platforms
- Election preparation support and guidance through every step of the election project from members of the Dominion team, including a dedicated Ontario-based project manager, election and ballot programmer, trainer for staff and poll workers, systems engineers, warehouse operations manager, and support for logic and accuracy testing.
By choosing Dominion, the City of Cambridge was also able to benefit from these Dominion exclusives:
- A multi-media training portal where city staff could log in and review training videos.
- Voter Education videos that the city could use to educate the public on the process of Internet voting.
- Dominion’s innovative AuditMark® technology, a unique visual audit trail appended to the digital image of each ballot, an additional degree of peace of mind for Cambridge’s election officials, candidates and voters.
- Dominion’s patented Dual Threshold technology, providing Cambridge voters the certainty that their intent was captured accurately at the polls.
Making voting easy - more ways, more daysRemote Voting
The City of Cambridge has been a Dominion Voting customer since 2006, but their 2014 municipal election was their first time offering Internet and telephone voting. Cambridge was also the first municipality in the Waterloo region to offer these remote voting options, alongside traditional in-person voting. The City of Cambridge wanted to provide remote voting methods to increase convenience, to accommodate changing lifestyles and demanding work schedules, and to enhance accessibility for people who may not be able to vote in person. Internet and telephone voting options gave voters the ability to securely cast their ballot at any time and from anywhere during the two-week advance vote period.
For those who preferred to cast a traditional paper ballot, polling locations were also available in advance and on Election Day. Two days of in-person advance voting were set up at three convenient locations around the City. Combining the options of remote and in-person voting meant that the City was able to significantly increase the number of advance voting days available. All told, the City was able to offer 16 days of voting, adding up to 381 voting hours.
Another convenient feature of the Dominion solution selected by the City was the ability for electors to “Vote Anywhere”, enabling those who chose in-person voting to cast their ballot from any poll location. On Election Day, voters could cast their ballot at any of the 50 poll locations throughout the City, regardless of which location was closest to their address of residence. Voters were still notified of the closest poll, however it was not required that they vote there.
The “Vote Anywhere” concept is growing in popularity across Ontario, as jurisdictions hope it will increase convenience and voter turnout. Advances in technology are making this service possible.
The City also engaged in an extensive voter education campaign, conducting open information sessions and other media promotion. Voters were encouraged to cast their ballot during the advance vote period, whether online or in person. Many voters expressed that offering alternative voting methods would make it easier and more convenient to vote, and for the first time since 2000, Cambridge reached a 30% voter turnout.
The largest increase in turnout was seen in the advance vote, which amounted to more than double the City’s 2010 advance voting numbers, including more than 5,000 residents who cast their votes by phone or online.
FULLY INTEGRATED, EFFICIENT RESULTS REPORTING
In today’s world, consumers of information expect speed, accuracy and convenience. By selecting Dominion as their provider, the City of Cambridge was able to deliver unofficial election night results in a manner that met all of those expectations. Dominion is the only elections provider to offer a fully integrated system and a single database for election programming, paper ballot optical scan tabulation, Internet and telephone voting, and results reporting. Dominion’s Democracy Suite Election Management System powers the entire solution, allowing for a seamless elections experience.
This seamless system allowed the City of Cambridge to easily consolidate results from all voting in the Results Tally & Reporting application of the Election Management System.
The high voter turnout at the online, telephone and in-person advance polls ensured that nearly one-third of results were ready to be revealed within 30 minutes of close of polls on election night. On election night, unofficial results were sent to the Internet-based graphical results display hosted on the City of Cambridge’s website, allowing the public and the media to see real-time results, as they became available.
A STRONG PARTNERSHIP FOR SUCCESS
Dominion has engineered state-of-the-art technologies beyond the ‘cookie-cutter’ election system, and has built its business by listening to Canadian municipal election officials and designing our systems based on their election needs. Dominion’s fully-integrated, flexible and full-service solution was the ideal fit for the City of Cambridge, offering all the tools and support that they needed to effortlessly deliver the most convenience and access to voters. Dominion looks forward to continuing to build on this strong partnership with the City of Cambridge, working together to make their elections more efficient, secure, and accessible.