Highlighting a handful of changes to the civic election process, returning officer Cliff Skauge is keen on making sure residents know where to vote and what to do.
The key, he said is for people to read the city-issued Voter’s Guide, which was mailed out to all residences in the city.
For those without a guide, they can still be picked up at City Hall. Failing that, voter guidelines are also available on the city’s website, www.citypa.ca .
Since 2009, a number of ward changes have been implemented, Skauge noted, cautioning residents to make sure they know which ward they’re within.
Wards 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 have all changed — the most significant changes taking place in Wards 5 and 6.
Polling stations, as identified within the Voter’s Guide, have also changed, going down to 21 from the 2009 election’s 28.
“If you go to the wrong place you’ll be sent to the correct one, and obviously we don’t like to see that happen,” Skauge said.
The provincial government has also implemented new voter identification regulations, which are being adhered to, by law.
“Driver’s photo ID is your absolute best, so long as it’s valid,” Skauge noted, adding that a valid driver’s licence can be the only identification required.
Failing that, two pieces of identification are required, including one with the voter’s name and the other with the voter’s name and address, the specifics of which are detailed in voter identification posters the city has been putting up. The details are also available on the city website.
The election date is Oct. 24, with all of the city’s 21 polling stations open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you go to the wrong (polling station) you’ll be sent to the correct one, and obviously we don’t like to see that happen. - Returning officer Cliff Skauge
Those unable to attend a polling station on this day have other options, including five advance poll dates.
Two of the advance polls have already been held, yielding a total voter turnout of about 225 people. Subsequent polls will be held on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
All advance polls are held at City Hall, at 1084 Central Ave.
The mail-in ballot system was introduced this year, though Skauge notes that participation has been limited.
With the election date nearing, those that pick up mail-in ballots will likely have to drop off their ballots at city hall to make it in by the Oct. 24 8 p.m. deadline.
Mail-in ballots can be applied for all the way up to 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 23.
“In case people were, for some reason, had to leave the city on the day before the election and couldn’t make it back on election day,” Skauge explained.
On election night, results are expected to start streaming in by 8:30 p.m., though final results aren’t likely to be in until about 11 p.m.
This year’s election includes four ballots, including those for mayor, city councillors and two school boards.
The city’s website will be continuously updated with results, though official results won’t be posted until 12 p.m. on Oct. 26.
The city’s new group of elected officials will be sworn in during a ceremony on Nov. 13, beginning at 7 p.m.