Mail in ballot bylaw approved

In an effort to accommodate more voters for the up and coming municipal election in November this year, council has approved a bylaw to accept mailed in votes.

In an effort to accommodate more voters for the up and coming municipal election in November this year, council has approved a bylaw to accept mailed in votes.

The issue was discussed over the course of two meetings and was given the go ahead despite information received from other municipalities, who reported little to no success with mail in voters.

“We waited for one election to see how others [municipalities] went,” said Worthing, who added it was reported back to her that mail in ballots met with only limited success.

Mayor Bernice Magee said, “Mail in ballots would appeal to the snowbirds, people who are not here for the election in November, but would like to be.”

“It is worth a try,” she added.

Councillor Eileen Benedict said she was also aware that mail in ballots had proven to have limited success for many regional districts across the province that had already tried it.

Bylaw number 925 was passed, but councillors requested more information about the amount of work mail in ballots would require from village staff.

Then during last week’s council meeting, Worthing reported back to councillors saying that while mail in ballots would create more work for office staff, it would be beneficial to voters to provide the option.

“It is a bit of a pain for sure and I don’t anticipate a lot of ballots, but we would be doing it to accommodate the public,” she said.

“I have heard that other areas think it is a bit cumbersome and have gone back to not offering mail in ballots,” Coun. Benedict said.

Worthing responded, “It is definitely worth trying it out. We would receive more criticism if we didn’t and we have plenty of information from other municipalities to help us out,” Worthing added.

Provisions in the newly passed bylaw allow for those who have a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote as well as those who expect to be absent from the area on a voting day vote by mail.

Those that wish to vote by mail will have to apply in writing by completing a mail ballot application form issued by the village.

A municipal voter would then be required to place their marked ballot inside a secrecy envelope, place the secrecy envelope inside a certification envelope which includes the voters signature and place the certification envelope inside a third mail in envelope.

It will be the same system as the recent harmonized sales tax referendum mail in voting package.

The vote would then be required to be received by the village two days before general voting day.

The mail in ballots will be placed in a ballot box along with other ballots and opened at the close of voting.