A group of concerned citizens say they have adapted the mechanism of the Citizen Initiated Plebiscite to the controversial highway project.
The plebiscite will not be conducted by Elections P.E.I., but instead will allow voting through mail-in ballots or on-line through a secure website.
Organizers say they hope it will help to inform government of the opinions of more Islanders on the proposal to realign the Trans-Canada Highway from New Haven to Bonshaw.
“Despite receiving the largest petition ever tabled, and seeing the largest protest at Province House this year, government has said that they weren’t hearing from voters on the issue,” said Lynne Douglas, one of the organizers.
“We understand that they can’t afford an official plebiscite for every controversy that comes along,” said Douglas. “We found a workable solution in the Citizen Initiated Plebiscite, which is used in a number of Commonwealth countries. We think we have found a way to make it affordable, and hope that all Islanders will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to vote in the plebiscite.”
A full description of the plebiscite has been published at http://votePEI.ca and includes the unique aspect that it is based on an honor system of ‘one person, one vote.’
Each computer, except for CAP sites, is allowed to place two votes, and each envelope mailed may contain two ballots. Paper ballots will be available online, and from the community bulletin board at Island Co-op food stores.
“We know that there will be some concern about a vote that is not tightly controlled by Elections P.E.I. We think it will be possible to prevent attempts to manipulate the results, and we hope to learn what is possible with this kind of voting for the future,” Douglas said.
She adds that even an official plebiscite is advisory in nature, and does not represent an actual commitment by government.
Voting in the plebiscite is open to all Island residents, and will take place from June 25 to 27. Organizers plan to make the results available on Canada Day.