TNRD director wants board to tally votes

Area P director Mel Rothenburger has filed a notice of motion, calling for options and costs of electronic voting systems for board meetings

A Thompson-Nicola Regional District director wants the cost of electronic voting systems for board meetings investigated.

Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) director Mel Rothenburger made a notice of motion on Thursday, calling for options and costs of such a system and requesting staff report back by the first board meeting in June.

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The notice of motion will be debated by the board at its next meeting in April.

“I think people should know how their elected representatives vote,” Rothenburger told KTW. “Under the current system, they don’t necessarily know that because of the size of the board proper partly, but because the votes aren’t tallied individually after each vote was taken. I think this would be a good way of making sure that people know where we stand on the issues.”

The current system documents, via board minutes, whether votes are carried or denied, though individual votes only come when requested by the director. Short of that initiative by the region’s elected officials or media coverage, those who do not attend TNRD meetings in person have no way of knowing how their respective director voted on various issues.

Most meetings are held in Kamloops and some regional district areas are hours away.

While the manner in which the TNRD tracks its decision-making process follows legislation, municipalities such as Kamloops take it further, documenting votes and providing broadcast archives of the meetings.

The regional district board has 26 directors, making it challenging to tally every vote at a meeting, due to the sheer number of votes that occur.

Rothenburger said electronic voting systems are “very streamlined.” He said he has attended conferences that used electronic voting, noting tallies were instantaneous and the result clear.

“It’s particularly useful on controversial votes, where people wonder how individuals voted on the board,” Rothenburger said. “This would remove any confusion about that, whereas now people have to indicate ‘I would like my vote recorded’ and it’s cumbersome and awkward and not everybody does that. So it’s not even accurate as it goes into the minutes oftentimes.”

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