Following voter complaints from the last municipal election, City Hall is asking Sarnians how they want to cast their ballots in 2022.
“If people have a choice, they’ll feel much happier and feel more inclined to vote,” said Coun. Margaret Bird, a vocal supporter of paper ballots when Sarnia embraced phone and online voting for the first time in 2018.
Citizens can share their own opinion in a new survey.
Organized by Sarnia’s Election Committee, the survey can be completed at Speak Up Sarnia, the city’s online public engagement platform at https://www.speakupsarnia.ca/2022-municipal-election.
Hard copies are available at Sarnia City Hall, and requested by mail from the Office of the City Clerk, by calling 519-332-0330 ext. 3320, or emailing [email protected].
Paper surveys must be returned by Oct. 19.
Feedback from the public consultation will help the election committee formulate recommendations for city council on Oct. 26.
Some 48.9% of eligible voters cast ballots in Sarnia’s first electronic ballot election in 2018.
“The whole system itself worked wonderfully,” former city clerk Dianne Gould-Brown said at the time.
Voter turnout in 2014 was 37.1%.
But Coun. Bird, who pushed for the election committee, said some voters had problems with the online ballot, a system now used by many Ontario municipalities.
E-ballots can be mailed to out-dated addresses or not delivered at all, increasing the risk of fraud, she said.
“I was really concerned from everything I heard.”
Bird said Sarnians should have the option of electronic, paper or mail-in ballots.
“We want to accommodate people with what they are most comfortable with,” she said.