Coun­cil doesn’t seem to want to hear from us

Northumberland Today - - OPINION - Michael Hoepfner, Cobourg

Re: Are Cobourg tax­pay­ers re­ally ap­a­thetic, Nov. 9

Ken Strauss is on the right track, sug­gest­ing that coun­cil ap­pears un­in­ter­ested in con­vers­ing with tax­pay­ers.

The prob­lem how­ever isn’t just these par­tic­u­lar politi­cians. The sys­tem within which they op­er­ate was de­signed to re­strict tax­payer par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy is only demo­cratic in­so­far as it al­lows us to vote for our next op­pres­sor. Then the doors to the cas­tle are slammed shut, the bridges drawn, and we’re back out in the cold.

At least, that’s how it used to be when votes still counted for some­thing (ad­mit­tedly not much). Today, with Cobourg be­ing one of the few mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Canada to hold elec­tions en­tirely elec­tron­i­cally, there isn’t even a sem­blance of a real elec­tion tak­ing place.

Cast­ing votes se­curely and ac­cu­rately, stor­ing votes se­curely, tab­u­lat­ing and pub­lish­ing them ac­cu­rately is all done elec­tron­i­cally by a pri­vate firm with pro­pri­etary soft­ware, safe from the pry­ing eyes of the pub­lic. No more pa­per trails to au­dit. No more re­counts. Just the word of a pri­vate cor­po­ra­tion.

It’s no won­der coun­cil feel in­vin­ci­ble. Im­mune from tax­payer in­put on all but the most triv­ial lev­els, with e-vot­ing they have now dis­pensed with elec­tions al­to­gether.

The di­vine right of coun­cil in­deed.

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