Calgary·Calgary Votes 2021

Elections Calgary says voter affected by boundary changes cast ballot in wrong ward

A city official has confirmed they are aware of one Calgary voter who cast a ballot in the wrong ward during advance polling this week.

23 polling stations are serving 2 or more wards during advance voting

Calgarians arrive to vote in a plebiscite on whether the city should proceed with a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Calgarians will head to the polls again on Oct. 18. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

A city official has confirmed she is aware of one Calgary voter who cast a ballot in the wrong ward during advance polling this week. 

The city's returning officer, Kate Martin, said in one instance, a voter told the election worker she lived in Ward 8 and was given a ballot for that ward.

But the resident actually lives in Ward 7 because of a recent boundary change.

"Certainly, confusion can arise for anyone going to a voting station in terms of what ward they will be casting their ballot," Martin said. 

The city says 23 of 37 advance voting stations have two or more ward ballots offered. This does not include City Hall or post-secondary institution voting opportunities. On election day, residents can only vote in the ward they reside in.

Martin said to date, there has been just one circumstance that has been brought to Elections Calgary's attention. 

"It's something that we took very seriously and we ensured that our election workers have the information and the tools right in front of them and just reiterated that we can help any voter who requires assistance," she said. 

But once a ballot has been cast there's no going back, and a ballot cannot be reissued. 

Councillor candidate in Ward 7, Heather McRae, says she's disappointed with Elections Calgary's response to the incident, and a potentially lost vote for her. 

She says the voter reached out after casting her vote, because she got a flyer with McRae's name on it. 

"She asked me why I was dropping in Ward 8, we were able to determine that she is actually living in an area that will be transitioning into Ward 7 as of October 18," McRae said. 

Having lost a potential vote because of this mistake, she says poll workers should verify all voters are getting the correct ballot.

"At minimum, they should have been flagging it in the public realm somewhere, so that people would be getting a push to confirm the ward that they're in. But I have seen no record or no indication that the city has made that effort," she said. 

Advance polling ends Sunday. 

With files from Scott Dippel

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