Council mulls over election changes

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Tyler Clarke
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Keen on bumping up voter participation, the city’s elected official asked city clerk Cliff Skauge to share election details during this week’s council meeting. 

Prince Albert city clerk Cliff Skauge is seen explaining the upcoming civic election process during this week’s city council meeting. 

Keen on bumping up voter participation, the city’s elected official asked city clerk Cliff Skauge to share election details during this week’s council meeting. 

A number of things have changed since the 2009 election, Skauge said — something Coun. Martin Ring wanted to make clear isn’t all council’s decision.

“We always get tagged as the City of Prince Albert making rules and regulations that make it difficult,” he said. 

“These voter ID changes are not something the City of Prince Albert set. This is part of the Municipal Elections Act.

“It’s a provincial ruling that came down that this is how we have to do it ... This one is out of our hands.”

Skauge said that a 2012 election guide is being sent out to everyone in the city who receives mail that will detail civic election changes, including the voter identification issue.

“We are somewhat concerned about the actual voter identification and getting the word out, and we will be distributing some posters around town,” he said, adding that additional brochure advertising is being looked into to help explain the voter identification requirement.

“Your best option is government-issued photo ID that’s valid, and that’s all that you need.”

For those without photo ID, which he notes may include a large portion of the city’s senior population who aren’t driving, two pieces of identification are required — both with the voter’s name and at least one with their current address.  

Coun. Greg Dionne expressed concern about residents with identifications that only stipulate a box number and not an address. A voter registration form can remedy this problem, which will be available at all polling stations.

These voter ID changes are not something the City of Prince Albert set. This is part of the Municipal Elections Act. It’s a provincial ruling that came down that this is how we have to do it ... This one is out of our hands. Coun. Martin Ring

“It’s not to discourage people from voting, but to make sure people are voting in the right place,” Dionne said.

The city has also seen boundary changes to Wards 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 — the most significant of which was to Ward 5. Mail-in ballots have also been introduced, and polling stations have been pared down from 28 to 21.

“Part of the consolidation is to get people to vote at a more central location,” Skauge said.

“If anyone has any questions, the best option is our website,” Skauge said of the voter identification issue, adding that another option is calling the city clerk’s office at 953-4305.

The 2012 election guide being mailed out and the city’s website, www.citypa.ca, will further explain election issues.

Of the city’s eight wards, seven are contested — the only exception being Ward 7, which Mark Tweidt took by acclamation.

The mayor’s seat has three candidates, including incumbent Jim Scarrow and candidates Greg Dionne and Dean Link.

Board members for the Prince Albert Roman Catholic Separate School Division No. 6 In-City Subdivision and the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division No. 119 In-City Subdivision will also be selected.

This year’s election date has been set for Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the various polling places in the city.

Special polls have also been established at the Victoria Hospital, Herb Bassett Home, Pineview Terrace Lodge, Sherman Towers and Carment Court. 

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