New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote and the Metro Vancouver board are considering technology that could automate and speed up the voting process, and record how each board member votes.
Jason Payne / PNG
Metro Vancouver residents could soon see a record of how their elected officials vote on topics that arise at regional district board meetings.On Friday, the board of directors heard that Metro staff are looking into technology that could automate and speed up the voting process, and record how each board member votes.“This may not be the most consequential issue that appears before this board, but I do believe that it speaks to something pretty foundational, and that is the transparency and accountability for our residents in understanding how their representatives to Metro Vancouver vote when they’re at board meetings,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West.Related Generally, the practice at the board and committee level is to use something called a rising vote. Those in favour of or opposed to a motion raise their hands to vote, and the chair declares that motion is either carried or defeated. The meeting minutes simply record the resolution of the vote.The names of those who voted in the negative on a motion are only recorded if a member specifically asks for their name to be recorded.Recored or “roll call” votes are less common — used an average of about twice per year — and allowed only at the board level. In this case, each director individually voices their vote, and it is recorded in the meeting minutes.Staff presented three options: maintaining status quo, having votes recorded at board and committee level, or recording names at board meetings only.“I think the current status quo on how we do voting works very well at the committee level and doesn’t need adjustment,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté.“But, I think if there are opportunities to bring technological advancements — which I think are existent in many other councils around this region — I think that would make the voting process a lot more easier and more transparent, and I think that’s the direction we as a large board should be going.”A staff report noted that in representative assemblies, such as local government, there is interest in the voting record of elected officials, but counting individual votes could be time consuming. However, this could be mitigated if electronic voting was used.Metro Vancouver chief administrative officer Carol Mason said staff will report back to the finance and intergovernment committee in March about what kind of technology could be used in the board room to allow recorded votes, and potential firstname.lastname@example.org/jensaltmanRelated