Rossland city council has instructed staff to explore the possibility of implementing mail ballot voting for municipal elections and by-elections.
According to an online city document prepared by executive assistant Alison Worsfield, the process could make the voting process easier and more accessible for Rosslanders.
Mayor Kathy Moore said staff will look at multiple factors around mail ballot voting in the coming weeks.
“Cost will be one big thing. We might find that it could be way too expensive to vote that way,” said Moore. “If we find that no one is doing it in communities where it has been implemented, that also might weigh heavily on us.”
The city would likely have to increase its advertising costs to let people know about the new ballot procedures, according to the document.
Taxpayers could also end up paying to mail their ballot if it’s not included in the election costs.
Despite the drawbacks, Moore said there could be times when mail ballot voting is beneficial to residents.
“We recently had to cancel a by-election because of the COVID-19 pandemic and we don’t know when we’ll be able to hold it,” said Moore.
“There are reasons to think that if we had mail-in ballots, we could’ve done the election and finally had the seventh council member.”
The by-election was scheduled to occur in April to replace Scott Forsyth, who resigned in January. It has not been rescheduled.
Moore said electronic voting could also be another option over in-person voting.
Moore said Trail and Squamish are other B.C. cities with mail ballot voting.
Its not known exactly when Rossland could implement mail ballot system.
Rossland city council also recently approved a pay raise for city poll clerks and ballot counters from $16 to $19 per hour.