Election Primer: Are you ready to vote?

Tara Jeffrey

Local voters will be electing a mayor, members of council and school board trustees when the municipal election unfolds later this month.

“It’s really important that people check to ensure they’re on the voters’ list, especially if they’ve moved in the last four years,” said Sarnia’s city clerk, Nancy Wright-Laking, pointing to about 54,000 eligible voters in the city.

“That’s the major thing we hear people asking about – whether or not they’re on the list. We’ll be very busy making additions and amendments from now to election day.”

In Sarnia, a list of eligible voters is available via a search tool at www.sarnia.ca or by calling 519-332-0330, ext. 3320.

Any additions or updates to the list require a signed amendment application form, available at city hall.

“It’s important to do this ahead of time, because it’s going to take up a lot of time if you wait until election day at the actual voting locations,” said Wright-Laking.

Voter notification cards should arrive in the mail in early October, with information about advanced and election day poll locations.

“You must provide proper identification with both your name and address,” said Wright-Laking, noting a list of some 30 acceptable documents, ranging from an Ontario driver’s license to a property tax assessment. A complete list is available under “Information for Voters” at www.sarnia.ca.

In Sarnia, advanced voting will take place at city hall on Oct. 11, 15, 17, and 18.

“We’re hoping that the Thanksgiving (Oct. 11) date will facilitate any students that are home from school,” said Wright-Laking, adding that proxy voting is also an option for those who are out of town or unable to get to a voting location.

All voting locations are equipped for wheelchair accessibility, but Wright-Laking noted that only the advanced polls will offer Accessible Vote Tabulators (AVT) for individuals with disabilities.

Voter turnout in the 2010 municipal election was less than 34%.

“We really want to stress to everyone to make sure they’re on the voters’ list,” said Wright-Laking. “And get out there and vote.”

For more information on Sarnia’s municipal election, visit www.sarnia.ca.

NOTE: See more election coverage on pages …. And watch in coming weeks for stories on Point Edward, St. Clair Township, school boards and Sarnia’s mayoral race.