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Sarnians can weigh in on ballot options for next election

Published on

Journal Staff

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.

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