Computer glitch snarls weekend rollout of Calgary's online census

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The City of Calgary says several thousand people encountered a glitch when they tried to submit online civic census forms over the weekend.

The census started on April 1. Codes were mailed to all households, which residents then enter online to fill out the questions and register to vote in the fall municipal election.

About 3,500 people received an error message when trying to submit their voter registration information, said Paul Denys, manager of election and census for the city.

"We did encounter a slight IT glitch, which was causing census data to be submitted but was preventing the voter registration data from going through, which would then result in an error message appearing on the screen.

"So the next error message that you get basically is caused by the fact that there is, in fact, sensitive data in the system. And the system thinks somebody's trying to submit data for a second time for the same address."

Highest participation

There was also a backlog as people tried to call the city to get it all sorted out.

The glitch has now been fixed and callers should be able to get through more easily, Denys said.

So far, the communities with the highest participation rate in the online census are:

- Panorama Hills.

- Edgemont.

- Cranston.

- Evergreen.

- Signal Hill.

Door-to-door census takers will start visiting those who have not entered their information online starting on April 22.

Anyone who has technical difficulties, or has lost their access code, can call 403-476-4100 (option 3), Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m, or on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

Users can also visit calgary.ca/census to request a new code.

Census information is used for planning services, such as roads, transit, recreation and water services, as well as the school boards for enrolment predictions and decisions on future schools, the city says.

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