Edmonton Elections promises safe experience for voters in October

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The first municipal election in Edmonton since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly a month away and the city is laying out their plan to provide a safe experience to voters.

The number of available polls people will be able to cast their vote at has increased from 189 during the 2017 election to 212 this year. The polling stations themselves will also be larger than in 2017 to accommodate for physical distancing.

In keeping with provincial health measures and city bylaws, masking will be required inside polling stations. Edmontonians can also expect to see additional sanitation measures and plexiglass dividers at the polls.

Additionally election workers will have to complete a pre-screening test for COVID-19 prior to their shift.

The city is also planning to launch an online tool prior to the election that will provide information on how long the wait times are at the polls so Edmontonians can plan to vote during hours with less demand.

Aileen Giesbrecht, the city clerk and returning officer for Edmonton Elections, explained the attention to safety at the polls this year.

“The Edmonton Elections team is prepared to deliver a safe election. The safety of voters and workers is one of our top priorities and we’re implementing safety measures to ensure everybody who visits a voting station feels safe.”

ADVANCED VOTING

The number of advanced voting polls for the municipal election has doubled from six in 2017 to twelve this year.

The early polls will be open from Oct. 4 to 13 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, including Thanksgiving Day.

Advance stations will also offer an electronic ballet marker with will allow people with visual or physical disabilities to view and mark their ballots independently.

There is also a hearing loop system for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

ELECTION DAY

Election day in Edmonton is October 18. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Eligible voters can find their polling station for both advanced voting and for Election Day at Edmonton.ca/wheretovote

Voters will be filling out two ballots at the polls this year, the first being the usual municipal ballot which includes options for mayor, councillor and school trustee.

The second will be a provincial ballot which will include names for Alberta’s senate nominee, as well as two referendum questions on whether:

  • to remove the principle of equalization payments from Canada’s constitution
  • Alberta should remain on Daylight Saving Time (summer hours) year-round

DEADLINE FOR CANDIDACY

Aspiring candidates for mayor or city council still have time to put their name forward for consideration. Those wishing to be put on the ballet have until noon on Sept. 20 to submit their nomination paperwork and deposit.

The deadline to withdraw from candidacy is at noon on Sept. 21.

People with further questions about the nomination process can visit Edmonton.ca/forcandidates or call 3-1-1.