September 2, 2014 7:38 pm

PC party responds to voting system concerns ahead of leadership vote

CALGARY- There are concerns that the PC party leadership race could be compromised by the very machines being used to tally the votes.

For the first time ever, the party will use an electronic voting system in this weekend’s election, instead of paper ballots. However, critics are concerned the system could be hacked.

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“It could very well be tainted,” says political analyst Duane Bratt. “We’ll have to see what occurs that day, what occurs the next day. So do the losers respect the results, and is there real evidence to show that? That will be the real test.”

FULL COVERAGE: Alberta PC Leadership Race

Party officials say that if someone wants to cheat they probably could, but fraud will be caught.

“Our instructions as staff were that security was a priority,” says Kelley Charlebois, executive director of the PC party. “So we have gone with a company that is known for its security, we have implemented their security features, we have an auditing process as part of the selection process.

“If someone is really committed to cheating the process, we should catch them.”

Candidates say they’re optimistic the system will work, but will be watching the results closely.

“I have faith and hope,” says Thomas Lukaszuk, who is vying for the vacated premier’s seat. “If that fails…lawyers are on standby. You know how technology can be.”

Thousands of party members are expected to cast ballots beginning on Friday at 6 a.m. Final results will be calculated on Saturday night, which should take two hours.

If there is no winner, a second vote will be held two weeks later.

Global News will have extensive coverage of the PC leadership race, both on air and online.

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