Officials in Regina are budgeting $867,000 for the 2016 election for members of city council and the school boards. That is up 55 per cent from the cost of the election held in 2012.
A report on preparations for the municipal election was recently released.
According to the report, the jump in the election's cost is related to expenses to upgrade the city's vote-counting system and to "enhance communication strategies".
The school boards will cover half of the cost.
Also noted in the report:
- Campaign spending limits: Candidates seeking the position of mayor will be limited to spending $64,635 on their campaign. Spending for a council position will be limited to $10,688. (The report said those figures are estimates and will be finalized once the Consumer Price Index is updated).
- Order of names on ballots: The report notes that city council has several choices when it comes to the list of candidate names. They can have candidates listed in alphabetical order or the order can be listed in a couple of random ways. City officials are recommending alphabetical order on all ballots, because that is the least expensive choice.
- Criminal record checks: According to the report, city council could insist that anyone seeking office would have to provide a criminal record background report. However, the report noted that Regina city council considered that option prior to the 2012 vote and decided not to implement it. The report also questioned the value of having the checks. "It is unclear what benefit collecting this information would have on the election process," the report said.
- Voters list: The report noted that since 1985 voters in Regina have simply registered at the same time they cast a ballot. Officials are recommending that same procedure be used, again, for the upcoming vote.
The recommendations will be considered by the executive committee of city council (which is made up of all members of council and the mayor) on Wednesday.
The topic is also on the agenda for a full city council meeting, set for Jan. 25.