In January 2014, after conducting an analysis, the Bylaw Review Committee (BRC) concluded that on balance, the council election voting process and bylaw amendment process would benefit from electronic voting*. Council approved the BRC recommendation to consult with members and ask them to consider bylaws authorizing e-voting for both council elections and bylaw amendments. It was underscored that e-voting would not replace existing processes (paper ballots or votes at meetings), but would be an alternative for council to consider. As proposed by the BRC, council also approved that corresponding process details (such as voting access and confidentiality, notification timelines, etc.) were to be determined by council rules.
AIBC bylaws must be approved by a special majority vote of members and honorary members. Prior to the vote, a consultation period was triggered and feedback solicited regarding these bylaw amendments. Once the bylaws were approved, a notification period followed pertaining to the council rules that outlined the specific process details for conducting e-votes for AIBC Bylaw amendments and council elections. Council has the authority to make and amend rules, taking into consideration comments provided during the notification period.
*Electronic voting (or e-voting) refers to a variety of voting systems that use electronic technology, including kiosk e-voting (voting electronically at a specific location) and remote internet voting (where voters can vote from their own terminals or other device). E-voting has been in place in many jurisdictions around the world since the 1960s and has seen a dramatic increase in the internet age. Other professional regulators and associations have been using e-voting, including the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., the Certified General Accountants of B.C. and the Canadian Bar Association.
Consultation (proposed bylaws)
Member information was provided and feedback sought through the firstname.lastname@example.org address and a member survey. In addition, a combined online and in-person session was held at the AIBC on March 3, 2014. Information about the e-voting bylaws was also included in the annual meeting notice package.
Member Feedback (proposed bylaws)
Member feedback was generally positive. Survey results indicated that members and honorary members (almost 250) supported, in the high 80 per cent range, e-voting for council elections and bylaw amendments. Review e-voting survey results.
Concern was expressed during the feedback process about security of voting, cost and about ensuring information flow and transparency as e-voting was further developed. AIBC council committed at a March meeting to provide notice to members and an opportunity for additional feedback when it came time to develop the ‘rules’ establishing the process for e-voting.
Member Vote & Results (bylaws)
At the May 3, 2014 annual meeting, AIBC members and honorary members approved bylaws allowing AIBC Council to establish rules for electronic voting for council elections (Bylaw 24.3) and for amendments to bylaws (Bylaw 35.4). The provincial government’s disallowance period for the new bylaws lapsed in June, and the bylaws came into effect.
Next steps included the development of rules by AIBC Council, in keeping with bylaws 24.3 and 35.4, to establish the process for e-voting. Areas for consideration included voting access and confidentiality; security and integrity of process, electronic ballot format and content; notification timelines; and in the case of bylaw amendments; notice, majority approval and voting period in keeping with existing mail ballot requirements.
Notification, Member Feedback & Results (council rules)
Under Council policy 12.2 (June 2014), members were notified of the rules and given an opportunity to provide feedback. Notification regarding the proposed council rules on e-voting was first distributed to AIBC architects and associates on December 22, 2014, with several subsequent reminders.
The rules, required by bylaws passed by members in May 2014, provided the structure and process for conducting e-votes for AIBC Bylaw amendments and council elections. After the 30-day notification period, which was extended until January 27, 2015, at noon, the proposed rules were approved by council.