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Election officials easing concerns about online voting system

Anyone who received more than one voter information letter is advised to keep both copies as only one PIN will be active at the time of online voting
2022 10 11 Voter Information Letter (Campaigne)
Online voting begins Thursday and you'll need one of these voter information letters with the accompanying PIN to cast your virtual ballot.

Amid concerns from the public about potential voting irregularities associated with its fledgling online voting option, the City of North Bay is reassuring citizens that the new method of casting one's virtual ballot is both safe and secure.

See related: Online voting opens Thursday

See also: Check your mailbox as your online voting PIN is on its way

BayToday has heard from several concerned citizens since the voting information letters began arriving at their destinations. Some received two in their name — one with a middle name included, and one without.

Another received a voting letter addressed to their grown child who hadn't lived at the residence for over 20 years. How many others with access to the PIN and knowledge about the corresponding date of birth are there who could cast a ballot in this election using the online method? 

Election officials, including the City Clerk, acknowledge some residents have received duplicate voter information letters but the City says it has taken steps to remove the duplicates from the voters' list while deactivating corresponding PIN numbers.

Anyone who received more than one voter information letter is advised to keep both copies as only one PIN will be active at the time of online voting.

And, if you've received an erroneous or extra voting letter, election officials stress it is against the law to vote more than once for any elected office within the same municipality or school board jurisdiction or to use someone else’s Voter ID and PIN. Offences under the Municipal Elections Act carry a maximum fine of up to $25,000 or up to six months imprisonment.

See: Many Ontario municipalities using online voting despite lack of provincial standards

The City of North Bay receives its preliminary voters' list from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and, like many municipalities, it then uses DataFix, a third-party data processing company, to manage and collate the information. 

Although inaccuracies in the voters' list are not uncommon and are encountered during every election cycle, the City has been advised by DataFix that some Ontario municipalities are seeing more cases where there are multiple versions of the same voter at the same property address as a result of a process aimed at avoiding showing false positive matches for twins at the same property address.

The company has since implemented an enhanced duplicate identification process and staff has removed approximately 100 duplicates and deactivated the associated PIN.

Errors in the voters' list as a result of outdated information, particularly when registered voters have moved, do occur. For each election, residents are encouraged to update their information at

Any residents who receive a voter information letter for previous occupants of their home are advised to return the envelope to the mail and mark it "return to sender" so the that the voters' list can be corrected.

See: BayToday's 2022 Municipal Election coverage

The City of North Bay is using Simply Voting to provide an online voting option during the 2022 Municipal Election. The following is a security overview:

Secret Ballot

Whether you use the internet to vote, your vote is instantly encrypted and stored with no possibility of your vote being traced back to your identity, just like a traditional paper ballot. It is impossible for municipal staff, Simply Voting employees or any other person to see how you have voted. Election officials will only be able to see that you cast your vote, the time you voted and the IP address or telephone number you voted from.

One Person One Vote

Only registered voters on the municipal list of electors will be authorized to access a ballot. Once you vote, you are “crossed off” the list and cannot vote again. Even if you try to vote using several devices at the same time, the system will only accept one single ballot from each voter.


Municipalities will assign independent auditors for the Internet Voting System. Simply Voting provides designated auditors with appropriate access to observe that the system allows voting under proper circumstances and prohibits voting under improper circumstances. The Auditor may continuously monitor voting activity before, during and after the voting period. It is also impossible for the Auditor to see how you have voted. The City of North Bay’s Internet Voting System has been audited by a third party.

Protection Against Computer Hackers

Simply Voting is an expert in internet security and goes to great lengths to protect the voting system. All communications between your computer and the voting website are encrypted to ensure confidentiality. The internet ballot is tamper-proof and there are multiple layers of security to protect the servers against attacks.

Protection Against Imposters

To vote, you will need to enter a password. Every password is a nine-digit numeric PIN that will be mailed to each voter in a Voter Information Letter prior to the "Voting Period". These PINs are randomly generated by Simply Voting and are printed, machine folded in security-tinted envelopes, and mailed directly to voters using Canada Post. As an added security measure, voters will also be required to enter their date of birth to complete the voting procedure. Therefore, if your Voter Information Letter ends up in the wrong hands, another person will not be able to cast your vote without your PIN and your date of birth.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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