Forget the trek out to the polling station, waiting in line and ticking a name on a ballot. As part of his bid to engage tuned-out Torontonians, would-be mayor Joe Pantalone pledged to push for online voting by the 2014 election.
As part of his "plan for civic values" released Monday, the deputy mayor also promised to continue current Mayor David Miller's push to allow non-citizen residents to vote in municipal elections - something that would help boost enthusiasm for local politics in a city where only a third of voters cast their ballots in 2006.
"We have to move into the next century as a way of doing things, rather than be caught up in the way we used to do things. ... We have to remain relevant and current," he said.
The city has a lot of headway to make up when it comes to getting ordinary Torontonians interested in what goes on at City Hall, the longtime councillor admitted.
"Torontonians are disconnected from government in general and ... city hall being the order of government closest to the people, I think we're feeling it the most. And I think we also have an obligation to reconnect."
Arguments in favour of online voting argue that it's more convenient and will encourage younger, web-savvier constituents, who are stereotypically least likely to cast a vote. Markham has done this for the past two elections with largely positive results. But a poll following the 2006 election found that 80 per cent of online voters had voted in the previous election. And Markham's 2006 voter turnout, even with online voting, was still 37.6 per cent.
Mr. Pantalone said he'd also try to reschedule some committee meetings to take place in the evenings, to make it easier for residents with day jobs to participate, although he doesn't know which these might be.
Other proposed initiatives include a "mayor's council" similar to one in Chicago, bringing the city's business and arts elite together; town halls across the city; online city transactions and the possibility for residents and businesses to make their case before committee, via Skype or video feed instead of having to depute in person.
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