Resident feedback wanted on CK’s municipal voting methods

Chatham-Kent 2018 municipal election. Polling station at St. Paul's church. October 22, 2018. (Photo by Greg Higgins).

Although it’s still more than a year away, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent is hoping to get some input from residents when it comes to voting in the next municipal election.

An online survey has been launched that focuses on what voting methods residents would prefer to see in the fall of 2022. Options include paper ballots at a polling station, internet voting, mail-in ballots or voting by phone.

According to Municipal Clerk Judy Smith, in the last two Chatham-Kent elections, internet voting was done for advanced polls only with paper ballots used on election day at polling locations throughout the municipality. Vote by mail and vote by phone options have never been used before.

Smith said they launched the survey to examine different ways to make it easier for people to participate in municipal elections.

“We’re just looking to see what the public might be interested in with regards to voting methods and just putting it out there to see if they have any comments to share,” she said.

Questions in the survey include asking what method residents would be most comfortable with as well as how they feel about the security of each method and if they are being adequately informed about each voting procedure.

Once the survey is complete, Smith said that responses will be tallied and a report will come to council, likely sometime in the spring of 2021.

“Once a vote method is chosen we are going to go out for a request for proposal and we will ask any of the vendors that are interested in the type of methods that we have preferred. Those results will go back to council for approval of a vendor. That will all be done likely by summer of this year,” Smith explained. “Then we’ll really start to see election planning increase by January of 2022.”

The survey can be found by clicking here. Comments will be accepted until March 23, 2021.

The municipal election day in Ontario is set for October 24, 2022.

Those taking the survey do not have to register to do so and no personal identifying information needs to be provided.