Technical Glitches Plague First-Ever Electronic Vote in House of Commons History

September 29, 2020 Updated: September 29, 2020

OTTAWA—Members of Parliament have completed their first-ever remote vote in the House of Commons, a historic occasion marked by numerous technical glitches, lengthy delays, and cameo appearances by some of their kids and even a family dog.

The vote was on a Bloc Quebecois sub-amendment to a Conservative amendment to last week’s throne speech, a routine matter that normally would have taken 15 minutes.

It was roundly defeated by a vote of 293-33 with help from one Bloc MP who accidentally voted against his own party’s sub-amendment “due to all the confusion” over voting by videoconference.

But it took almost two hours to arrive at that result.

Right off the bat, a system failure by Microsoft delayed the vote for about 40 minutes.

For the eventual vote,  only a few dozen MPs were physically present in the Commons while the rest joined in from remote locations in an excruciatingly slow, roll call videoconference vote.

By Joan Bryden