A Saanich councillor is calling on the rest of council to support development of a voting dashboard to track members’ votes for greater transparency.
On Jan. 25, Coun. Nathalie Chambers read a notice of motion asking that staff be directed to implement a system to display councillors’ votes.
“As an elected official, I sincerely believe that voting dashboards are in the best interest of the public (and) democracy, and are a way to show the public on a weekly basis that their respective councillors are working for them,” Chambers said.
Chambers brought a similar motion in 2020, but without the support of a seconder, it was dropped. This time around, she’s hopeful after securing Coun. Judy Brownoff’s support.
The concept has been discussed in Saanich in the past and many other municipalities already have some kind of voting dashboard.
She noted that Saanich councils’ microphones have a voting button and all that’s missing is a software update to connect them to a dashboard. Brownoff pointed out that even a simple spreadsheet could be used, as is done in Prince George.
With public health orders banning large gatherings due to the ongoing pandemic, council recently voted to continue public-free meetings until the end of April.
On the agenda, February 08, 2021.
That Council asks staff to provide a report on options for developing a Council voting dashboard that will display and track council members' voting.
Mayor Helps. “This new tool is
progress in the City’s commitment to transparency".
— Nathalie Chambers (@SpiritofSaanich) February 4, 2021
Residents are left to watch meeting live streams or comb through the videos later on to find the outcome of a specific vote which is “time-consuming and not straightforward for a multitude of users,” Chambers said.
Voting dashboards have been implemented in other local governments – including Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria.
Victoria unveiled its council meeting dashboard in July 2019 to track each councillor’s vote when a final decision on a specific item takes place. At the time, the dashboard was updated to include votes dating back to the start of their term in November 2018.
Chambers’ motion was considered during a council meeting on Feb. 8 after the Saanich News went to press.