Ontario cities use creative ways to increase voter turnout

Across Ontario, the average turnout for the last municipal election was about 44 per cent.

Mobile voting units will be used in Sudbury and Thunder Bay

The mobile voting unit is back for the second time in Thunder Bay. (Thunder Bay Votes/Facebook)

Some Ontario cities are taking extra efforts to improve the voter turnout during the Oct. 27 municipal elections.

Across Ontario, the average turnout for the last municipal election was about 44 per cent.

For the first time, voters in Sudbury can cast a ballot online or at a mobile poll inside a modified transit bus.

City clerk Caroline Hallsworth says the goal is to get to voters who may need convincing.

Hallsworth said the idea is to make it easy for those who are not regular voters.

"If it's easier to vote, someone who's teeter-tottering on should I or shouldn't I, might just vote," she said.

Turnout in the last election in Sudbury was 49 per cent.

Sudbury is also looking to have 25 per cent of ballots returned electronically.

"People who perhaps might otherwise be deterred from voting because they simply don't have time on election day, will cast their votes electronically," Hallsworth said.

The city of Thunder Bay introduced a mobile voting van  four years ago. It's back again.

And there's a special advance poll at an upcoming meeting meeting of a young professionals organization.

Voter turnout in Thunder Bay was 46.53 per cent last election.

In Kitchener, city spokesperson Kendra Martin says the focus is getting young people to vote, especially university and college students.

She says the city is trying to show university and college students that by getting involved they can make a difference in both the short- and long-term.

"If they decide to live here in the future, then their vote does matter," Martin said.

Windsor will offer voters a free bus ride to the polls.

Windsor had a voter turnout of 46.28 last election.

Outside Windsor, in Leamington, voters will only be able to cast ballots electronically.

Folks who don't have the internet or don't understand the process can cast their ballots at voter information centres equipped with computers and staff to help.

Leamington has posted a Youtube video to answer questions.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.