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Calgary ‘not intending’ to create voter list for upcoming civic election

Calgary’s returning officer will not be asking city council to prompt the creation of a voters list for the upcoming municipal election, according to the city’s solicitor.

Councillors heard options about the voters list behind closed doors during Tuesday’s Priorities and Finance Committee.

The issue of releasing voter lists was introduced during the council meeting on May 10 following public threats against AHS workers made by mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston.

The Court of Queen’s Bench granted AHS a restraining order against Johnston on May 14. This order limits his interaction with AHS facilities and employees.  Johnston was later arrested on May 15 while attending a public event, which was against public health orders and the order set by the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Coun. Druh Farrell was one of the first to question the necessity of releasing voter lists last week, a sentiment echoed by candidate Jyoti Gondek. 

Gondek had specifically requested that the city refrain from sharing voter lists with candidates, citing concerns of violence.

Elections Calgary had also previously clarified that a voter list is only prepared following a motion from city council, adding that voter lists can only be used for campaign purposes.

Past elections have been run without the list

Following today’s closed session, councillors heard from the city’s solicitor Jill Floen. She said the list had to be created with council direction. Floen said there is no list; no list has been created. No list is being prepared, she said.

“The election can be administered without a list, And in fact previous elections have been administered successfully without a list of the electors,” Floen told councillors.

At this time, there’s no authority to create a list either.

“Therefore, the returning officer is not intending to create a list to administer the election and will not be seeking that direction,” Floen said.

An election registry is produced, but it’s used by election officials on voting day to keep track of electors who show up to vote.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who is also in the mayoral race, asked if the city had the ability to remove a candidate from the civic election. Floen said no, that power resides with the province.