Trail council approves voting by mail in next election

With such low voter turnout at the last municipal election, council has agreed to move forward with voting by mail for certain residents.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

In the story Council approves voting by mail in next election (Trail Times, Oct. 23) there was incorrect information regarding curbside voting. Curbside voting is provided at the polling stations on advance voting days or general voting day. People with mobility issues can arrive at the polling station and remain in the vehicle.  When election staff is alerted of their desire to vote but that they can’t enter into the building to do so, staff will take the election supplies to the vehicle for them to cast their ballots.

With only 31 per cent of Trail residents turning up to vote in the last municipal election, council is looking at ways to give everyone the opportunity to cast a ballot in next year’s civic election.

With an estimated $1,500 cost, Trail council agreed to move forward with an amending bylaw to introduce mail ballot voting in November 2014.

In response to an increasing population of “snowbirds,” or residents who own property within the jurisdiction but are not present during the election, local governments have the option of instituting voting by mail.

“As our population gets older more people go away,” said Coun. Robert Cacchioni during the Oct. 15 governance and operations committee (GOC) meeting. “I think we should give those people opportunity to vote.”

The city currently allows for two advance voting opportunities, one held 10 days prior to the general voting and the other, three days before election day.

However, there remains a groups of citizens who leave town before those dates, and wish to have their say, according to Cacchioni.

“I have heard this from a few people and this is hinged on the fact that the election was supposed to be changed to October, but now that it is staying in November, there will be people who will have already left town.”

Michelle McIsaac, Trail’s corporate administrator and chief election officer, said there were few queries from electors unable to attend any of the established voting opportunities in the 2008 and 2011 general location elections, but she conceded that people who do leave town prior to Nov. 5, 2014, may not be able to cast a ballot.

Although proceeding with mail ballot voting would increase election costs by 10 per cent and add to the volume of work for city staff, McIsaac cited the town of Creston’s experience with the process in its previous election.

“Creston is the only municipality in our area that used mail ballot previously,” she explained. “In 2011 they issued 50 mail ballot packages and had 33 ballots returned.”

Trail’s last election was a close race, said Coun. Sean Mackinlay.

“Being a person that is on the three-point margin, the outcome could have been totally different with mail ballot voting in the last election,” he explained. “Even if we have only one ballot cast and it does cost $1,500 I think that is a fine price to pay,” Mackinlay continued. “In my mind, I don’t think there should be a cost on election and we need to make sure everyone is represented.”

McIsaac clarified that mail voting ballots will only be available for those with physical disability, illness or injury that affect the ability to vote at a scheduled voting opportunity, or for those who expect to be absent from the community during advance voting or general voting day.

“We want to encourage an increase in the voter turnout for the 2014 municipal elections,” she said. “It is not an option for those who would just prefer not to come to the voting station.”

The motion to proceed with voting by mail was carried unanimously but was followed with further discussion of voter apathy.

“To differentiate with respect to people leaving the area, I think the bigger concern is that people who are in your area don’t vote,” said David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer. “Wouldn’t you be more concerned about that than capturing 50 votes at a cost of $30 per vote, give or take,” he said, adding, “the issue you would want to study more directly is why people are sitting in Trail on the election date and not coming out (to vote.)”

Twenty-six year council member Gord DeRosa, replied that mail ballot voting is a “step in the right direction.”

“If you can’t impact what is going to happen in the community you live in, it hits home hard,” he said. “If you have opinions and like to vote, you shouldn’t be prevented.”

In addition to advance voting, Trail currently provides special voting opportunities on elections day at the regional hospital, Columbia View Lodge and Rosewood Village for patients and residents living in those facilities.

Curbside voting is provided at the polling stations on advance voting days or general voting day.  People with mobility issues can arrive at the polling station and remain in the vehicle.  When election staff are alerted of their desire to vote but that they can’t enter into the building to do so, staff will take the election supplies to the vehicle for them to cast their ballots.

The mail ballot voting process will include a secure package containing the ballot, a secrecy envelope to return the ballot, a certification envelope printed with spaces for the elector to record name, address and signed declaration, an outer envelope pre-printed with the return address of the city, and voting instructions.

“The most significant cost will be printing costs, so although the package will vary depending on how many requests we receive for ballot packages to be delivered, $1500 should cover it,” added McIsaac.

Just Posted

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

The author during GoByBike Week. Taking a break from all that high-flying on the Isador Canyon Trail. Photo: Christina Blaskovich
The auto and the bike: A paean to them both

One becomes an extension of one’s self. The other offers the sensation of flight.

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read