Internet Voting FAQ

What is internet voting?

Internet voting is a process whereby a voter casts a vote on an electronic ballot.

Why is the City considering internet voting?

Internet voting technology is currently available in the marketplace and has been used in municipalities in Canada and around the world. With a General Election in October 2013, the City felt the time is right to explore the feasibility of offering internet voting as an option.

What is the purpose of the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?

The City is proactively exploring internet voting as an option for voters who are not in Edmonton on election day, or whose circumstance prevents them from voting in person for the 2013 General Municipal Election.

In preparation, the City is conducting a test of Internet voting which will be known as the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election. The purpose of this test is two-fold:  1) to gauge the readiness of Edmontonians to use Internet voting as a valid alternative in the 2013 General Election, and 2) to test technological readiness.

Why do I have to register to vote in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?

The City does not have a voters list. Rather, a voter must complete a document called a Voting Register in the voting station and provide identification. Voting via the Internet requires the same documentation be provided. The voter meets these requirements through completion of their online registration.

Who is providing the Internet Voting System to the City of Edmonton?

SCYTL (Canada), a worldwide software company specialized in the development of secure electronic voting solutions, is providing the Internet Voting System for the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election. SCYTL has developed cryptographic protocols to provide electronic voting for higher levels of security, privacy and trust.

I saw an article online stating that Scytl was hacked in Washington, D.C by the University of Michigan, is that true?

Scytl did not provide an internet voting system to Washington D.C, they only provided electronic poll books. For further information, view this article.

What is the role of the Centre for Public Involvement?

The City is collaborating with the Centre for Public Involvement (CPI) on a public engagement process. The CPI will seek the public’s opinions about Internet voting through online surveys, roundtable discussions and a citizen jury process. 

Online surveys: The online surveys will inform the public about the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election. The survey will solicit feedback from the public concerning their knowledge and attitudes on the adoption of Internet voting.

Roundtable discussions: Participants will be randomly selected to represent the views of the general public. Participants may include seniors and various organizations for citizens living with disabilities. Participants will complete entrance and exit surveys.

Citizen jury process:  Made up of 12 - 18 randomly selected citizens to act as jurors. The jurors hear evidence, review the information and deliberate. The jurors then make recommendations and a "verdict".

What is an Electoral Board?

A group of seven appointed individuals including the Returning Officer and Director that hold the virtual "keys" to the encrypted voting system. No one individual will have access to the encrypted voting system or the election results. A minimum of four members of the Electoral Board must convene with their keys in order for the virtual ballot box to be opened.

Do I need to reside in Edmonton in order to participate in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?

The 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election is open to anyone wishing to participate, including individuals who live outside of Edmonton. Please Note: if you reside outside Edmonton, fill out the registration form with your correct residential address. For example, if you live at 1234 Main Street, Toronto, ON you are to fill out the registration form as such. You must have a valid Canadian postal code to register. If you reside outside Canada, please use T5M 3R8 in the postal code field.

What are the supported internet browsers?
  • Internet Explorer 8 in Windows XP, Vista, 7 (3)
  • IE 9 in Windows Vista, 7 (2)
  • Latest 2 Firefox versions in Windows XP, Vista and 7 and Ubuntu 10 (8)
  • Latest Chrome version in Windows XP, Vista and 7 (3)
  • Safari 5 available in MAC 10.6.8 and 10.7(.3)
  • JAWS in IE9 on Windows

You can also review the detailed browser and operating system compatibility listing prior to registering.

How long will it take to register?
It will take the user approximately 5 minutes to fill out the registration form, upload acceptable identification, and submit their completed registration package for the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election. Please Note: for the purposes of the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election you are required to provide a form of personal identification, however, as students and individuals from across Canada and abroad are encouraged to participate, identification provided in these circumstances may not be on the acceptable identification list. If this applies to your registration, please select "other documents" from the drop down list in the identification field.
Will I be able to vote immediately after I register?

No, your registration information will need to be reviewed for completeness and accuracy by a Registration Officer. If information is missing or if clarification is required, a Registration Officer will contact you directly via the contact information provided during registration. If the information is complete and accurate, your application will be accepted at which point you will receive an e-mail indicating your acceptance. Please watch your inbox for an e-mail message from edmonton@internetvoting.ca. Adding this address to your contacts or address book is recommended to ensure the e-mail is not redirected to your junk mail or spam folders. The review process is expected to take one business day. If you do not receive an e-mail notification in your inbox from edmonton@internetvoting.ca within one business day of registration, check other folders within your personal e-mail. If you are unable to locate the e-mail message after checking your e-mail folders, contact the Election and Census Office.

I share an e-mail account with someone else in my family, can we both register using the same e-mail account?

No, each individual wishing to register to vote in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election must have their own e-mail address.

What should I do if I forget my password?

You will need to contact the Election and Census Office and then you will be required to re-register for the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election.

What happens if I misplace my Personal Identification Number (PIN)? Can I get a new one?

If your PIN was delivered to your personal e-mail address, you can access the PIN retrieval link. You will be prompted to enter your e-mail and the password you created during registration. If the two items are entered correctly, an e-mail will be sent to you with a new link where you will receive a new PIN after following the on-screen prompts. If you initially requested the PIN be delivered via postal mail, please access the PIN retrieval link and follow the instructions. Your secondary PIN will be delivered to your personal e-mail address.

Can I still vote in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election if my form of identification is not on the list of acceptable identification?

Other documents not on the acceptable identification list may be accepted at the discretion of the Returning Officer to confirm voting eligibility. Please Note: for the purposes of the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election you are required to provide a form of personal identification, however, as students and individuals from across Canada and abroad are encouraged to participate, identification provided in these circumstances may not be included on the acceptable identification list. If this applies to your registration, please select "other documents" from the drop down list in the identification field.

If I login to the voting system, but I do not want to cast a ballot at that moment, can I exit the system and access it later?

Yes you can. If you exit your voting session before you cast your vote you can login again later using your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the password you created during registration and restart the voting process. Please Note: If you have initiated voting and choose not to cast your ballot at that time, any selections you have made until that point will not be saved.

How many survey questions will I need to answer once I have completed voting in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?

The survey consists of eight questions and one comments field.

I am having difficulty uploading my identification, what can I do?

Ensure the file you are uploading is smaller than 5 Mega Bytes (MB). You will receive an error message if your file size exceeds 5 MB. Check this list to ensure the file you are attempting to upload is in an accessible format.

Acceptable document file types:

  • .doc, .docx (Microsoft Word)
  • .pdf (Adobe Acrobat)
  • .ppt, pptx, .pps, .ppsx (Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation)

Acceptable image file types:

  • .bmp
  • .jpeg
  • .jpg
  • .gif
  • .tiff
  • .bmp
  • .png

Please Note: the file extension .jpeg must be in lower case text in order to be accepted. Ensure that if your photo program or device automatically stores files as .JPEG (upper case) you save the file in lower case text before uploading it to your registration.

Is there a "mobile app" for my Smart Phone for the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?

No, there is not a mobile application available at this time.

Can I use my Smart Phone or tablet device to register to vote in the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election?
Yes, provided you have a internet browser as there is not a specific "mobile friendly" website available at this time.
Will a photo of my identification taken from my Smart Phone or tablet device be accepted?

Yes, provided the photo of the identification is uploaded  in an accessible format.
Acceptable document file types:

  • .doc, .docx (Microsoft Word)
  • .pdf (Adobe Acrobat)
  • .ppt, pptx, .pps, .ppsx (Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation)

Acceptable image file types:

  • .bmp
  • .jpeg
  • .jpg
  • .gif
  • .tiff
  • .bmp
  • .png


Please Note: the file extension .jpeg must be in lower case text in order to be accepted. Ensure that if your photo program or device automatically stores files as .JPEG (upper case) you save the file in lower case text before uploading it to your registration.

How can I verify that I am accessing the actual voting system (no phishing)?

When accessing the voting system, ensure that you are accessing the following website:  https://internetvoting.edmonton.ca. The voting system website will have the "s" following "http" indicating that the connection is encrypted and secure.

What safeguards are in place to ensure my personal information is protected?

All personal information provided is stored in a secure location in Canada and will be destroyed by December 31, 2012 in accordance with industry standards to ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information can only be viewed by Registration Officers and system administrators. These individuals are governed by non-disclosure agreements.

How can you ensure people don't vote more than once?

A voter’s identity is confirmed by their name, identification, home address and e-mail address which were provided at the time of registration. Registration Officers manually confirm each registration, ensuring a voter has only registered once and has fulfilled all requirements prior to the issuance of a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

Can anyone tell how I voted if they know my Personal Identification Number (PIN) and password?

No. The system does not track how a particular PIN and password combination has voted, only that the PIN and password combination has been used to cast a vote.

Can the voters verify that their votes have been included in the final tally?

In order to vote, a voter must enter the password they created when registering and the 16 digit alpha numeric Personal Identification Number (PIN) that was provided to them by the voting system. Once the voter’s ballot has been cast and stored in the secure virtual ballot box, the voter will be provided with a voting receipt and a unique number. When the election has been closed, voters will be able to access a list of receipt numbers on the 2012 Jellybean Internet Voting Election website which will confirm their ballot was counted, but not the choices made or the identity of the voter. The technology will not track voters' computers or link a voter to their private voting choices.

Once a vote has been cast, can it be changed?

No. Once a vote has been cast (i.e. you confirm your vote) it cannot be changed. This process is the same as dropping the ballot into the ballot box in a traditional paper-based election, ensuring complete voter anonymity and secrecy of the ballot. The system does not know how the ballot was voted; only that the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and password combination were used in the election to cast a vote. Therefore, it cannot be removed from the vote count.

How does the voting system ensure the privacy of the voters?

Using a technique of mixing, the correlation between the identity of voters and votes decrypted is broken to ensure privacy.

How does the voting system protect the integrity of the vote?

The votes stored in the voting servers are cryptographically protected (encrypted and digitally signed) at all times, and therefore no one can manipulate them, including system administrators with privileges.

How is the security of the voting process guaranteed?

All the votes are encrypted and digitally signed by voters when cast. The private key to decrypt the vote is divided into seven “keys” which are distributed among members of the Electoral Board before the start of the election. Members of the Electoral Board are the only ones who can reconstruct the private key to decrypt and count the votes (i.e. open the virtual ballot box at the end of the Election Day).  It takes four of the seven “keys” to open the virtual ballot box ensuring no one member of the Electoral Board can see or change a vote.

Will my e-mail ever be sold to a third party?

No, there is an agreement between SCYTL and the City of Edmonton protecting the sale of personal information.

Is the voting system auditable?

Yes. There are processes in place to audit the voting system should an audit be required.

May the electoral authorities audit the election results?

Yes. There are processes built in to allow the results to be audited.

For More Information

Election and Census Office

16304 - 114 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB  T5M 3R8

Telephone 780-442-VOTE (8683)
Fax 780-498-7058
Email Internetvoting@edmonton.ca