Alberta aims to ban vote counting machines in provincial elections

Part of Alberta’s sprawling Bill 20 includes the complete banning of tabulator or vote counting machines in provincial elections.

The province introduced the legislation on Thursday and Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver says the province is making the move because some residents don’t have full trust in machines.

“I’ve never called their integrity into question,” he says. “But if you talk to Albertans, you will find a number of them don’t have faith in machines counting ballots.”

The 2023 provincial election was the first time tabulators were used at the provincial level — albeit only for advanced votes. Tabulator machines have also been used in byelections and municipal elections.

“It’s not whether the machines are good or not,” McIver says. “The most important point is whether people believe the machines are okay or not.”

South of the border, at least six states have outlawed the use of vote counting machines.

Criticism of the accuracy of the machines in the 2020 presidential election was amplified after a conspiracy theory alleged millions of votes intended for incumbent Donald Trump were deleted or changed.

It led to Dominion Voting winning a defamation case against Fox News for repeating what were found to be false claims of vote tampering.

Bill 20 would also grant the province sweeping powers over municipalities, including the right to fire councillors, overturn bylaws and postpone elections.

The proposed law would also allow political parties to run on municipal ballots in Edmonton and Calgary.

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