Calgarians have more places to vote and longer hours to cast their ballots this year.
The City of Calgary has added 11 more advance voting locations and approximately 1,900 more hours of voting time. Advance voting will take place from Oct. 4 to 10 at 37 locations across the city.
On election day there will be 22 more locations and polls will have extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Some delays to voting are expected from the Covid-19 voting station safety measures.
“It’s possible. I think it’s reasonable, that we will expect some wait times in light of the social distancing measures that we have to put in place,” said Kate Martin, Returning Officer and City Clerk.
Poll locations can be looked up by a voter’s address at the Elections Calgary website.
Covid-19 measures in place to keep voters safe
Anyone visiting a voting site will be asked to wear a face mask as per the city’s bylaw. They will also be asked to follow directional signage within a voting station.
Calgarians are also asked to bring their own pen or pencil. A single use golf-style pencil will be provided to any voter who needs one.
Voters with mobility challenges or who are unable or unwilling to wear a mask will be offered curbside voting. The city said they have created a curbside kit that will provide privacy and will be attended to by a pair of election workers.
Voters who refuse curbside voting will be allowed to vote inside the polling location.
“The first thing that our election workers will do is we will offer them the opportunity to vote outside at what we call a curbside vote … if they refuse to vote outside the next option would be to vote inside,” said Martin.
Some limitations will exist in access to polling locations at the universities and hospitals. Hospital voting will be limited to persons already admitted to hospital.
Changes to ballots
The upcoming municipal election will have voters casting their votes on two composite ballots this year. One from the city and one from the province.
Municipal ballots will allow for voters to select who they wish to elect for mayor, ward councillor, and public or separate school board trustee. The ballot will also contain the question “are you in favour of reintroducing fluoridation of the municipal water supply?”
Acclaimed candidates will be indicated on ballots but their names will not be shown.
Provincial ballots will allow voters to select three candidates for nomination to Canada’s Senate. It will also contain the referendum question “Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments, be removed from the Constitution?”
It will also include a question on daylight savings time.
Use of tabulators expected to speed up results
This election will continue to use the tabulators that were previously used in the 2018 Olympics vote.
“Tabulators improve the speed, accuracy and timely reporting of results,” said Andrew Brouwer, Deputy City Clerk, Elections Calgary.
All of the tabulators used by the city have been secured prior to the election. On election day tabulators will scan and tabulate votes and marked ballots will be stored in a secure ballot box.
Elections Systems and Software is the tabulator vendor for this election.
Advance polling results are expected to come first after polls close, followed by election day tabulator results.
“I would expect that to be also fairly quick following the close of the voting stations at eight,” said Brouwer.
Voting results by station instead of by tabulator is expected to be released by the city before noon on Oct. 20.