Sudbury

City of Greater Sudbury hoping for boost in voter turnout on municipal election day

City of Greater Sudbury residents can vote from anywhere through a computer or mobile device with internet access this municipal election. City clerk and solicitor Eric Labelle notes there will also be 23 official voting locations set up across the city on Monday.

Electronic polls will be open until 8 p.m. on Monday night

A screen capture of the City of Greater Sudbury's website, which eligible voters must visit to cast their ballot in this year's municipal election. Polls close on Monday, October 22 at 8 p.m. (City of Greater Sudbury)

It's election day in municipalities across Ontario, including Greater Sudbury, where the city has moved to a fully electronic voting system for the first time.

Residents can vote from anywhere through a computer or mobile device with internet access.

City clerk and solicitor Eric Labelle notes there will also be 23 official voting locations set up across the city on Monday.

They'll be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for people who need help voting, don't have personal access to the required technology, or who have yet to receive their voter information letters.

"It's an exciting time," said Labelle. "We're in the final push. We're hopeful to get a very good turnout for the election. People seem engaged and people seem to be excited about electronic voting."

The city hopes to surpass the close to 51 per cent overall voter turnout in the 2014 municipal election.

As of Friday evening, about 19,614 people — or 17.27 per cent of per cent of eligible voters — had cast their ballots on the city's website through advance polls.

Not on voters' list? No worries, says city clerk

Labelle acknowledged numerous residents didn't receive voter information letters in the mail due to the fact they weren't on the city's voters' list.

The letters contain the individualized PIN necessary to cast a vote.

Labelle said voters who don't have their PIN can go to one of the city's in-person voting locations with a valid piece of identification to receive it.

Greater Sudbury residents must have the PIN contained in their voter information card to cast their online ballot. Eligible voters without their PIN must visit one of the city's 23 official voting locations listed on its website. (CBC)

A number of candidates running for office have voiced concern about the number of people who didn't receive their voter information in the mail.

But Labelle said it's a "recurring issue we see every municipal election." He said the list compiled and provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) "isn't perfect."

"It does contain some errors," noted Labelle. "That's why the Municipal Elections Act contains a process whereby at the beginning of September, electors can attend the clerk's office or city facilities in order to correct their information, add themselves to the list, and correct any other information that needs to be done.

"I don't think I'd characterize it as being overly problematic. It's a method of engagement. We do wish to increase participation, and the ability for electors [...] to add themselves to the list is a method of additional engagement for people to participate in the election and voice their choice."

The city is also offering free public transit on local buses Monday to anyone who tells their driver they're going to or coming from casting a ballot — no matter where that may be.

"If they don't have a computer at home, they may choose to visit somebody else in order to vote with somebody else's computer if they have internet and they wish to go there," explained Labelle.

"We won't be asking any questions. Essentially, if you're going to vote, it's your right, and whether you're going to a city location or somewhere else to vote, that's what we want to see. We want to make sure people are participating in the election."

About the Author

Benjamin Aubé is a journalist based out of Sudbury. If you have a story you'd like to share, email him at benjamin.aube@cbc.ca

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