Residents encouraged to have a say in the 2018 Municipal election - Register to Vote on VoterLookup.ca

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday August 2, 2018


Just 30 people from the Garrison Petawawa Residential Housing Units voted in the 2014 municipal election and the town is hoping to drastically increase this number by allowing votes to be cast online and by phone.

Distance voting will begin on Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. so voters can choose their candidates at any time of the day until the polls close. Traditional paper ballot voting will have an advance poll on Oct. 13 with the official voting day on Oct. 22.

“We are basically holding two parallel elections,” said Town of Petawawa Deputy Clerk Dawn Recoskie.

Last election, the town had a 15.80 per cent voter turnout, which is much lower than the provincial average of 43.09 per cent.

“I don’t want that statistic to happen again,” said Recoskie.

The technological advancement puts the town on par with most municipalities in the province, who already have similar systems in place. It will allow those with mobility issues, busy schedules, or even those on a deployment, the opportunity to have a voice at home.

There may also be other reasons why the voter numbers were so low, noted Recoskie.

“A lot of times when I speak to people personally, they say, ‘I’m only going to be here for a short time. This is not my hometown and I really don’t know what’s going on. So I’m not going to vote,’” she said.

Yet their actions could have a positive impact on future residents who are typically similar in outlooks and demographics.

“Ideally, you would like your councilors to be representative of the population of the municipality,” said Recoskie.

Government at the municipal level most closely affects people in their day to day lives.

“We drive on municipal roads and bridges,” said Recoskie. “We drink municipal water. Our garbage and recycling get picked up on a weekly basis. We play baseball on municipal ball diamonds. We use public computer stations at the library. The volunteer fire department and police respond when we dial 911. We send our children to daycare centres funded with local tax dollars and we have residential subdivisions separate from our busy commercial properties.”

To ensure residents are eligible to vote, however, they must ensure their name is on the voters’ list. VoterLookup.ca confirms the resident and also adds residents to the voters’ list who’s information may not have been captured since they have moved or recently turned 18 years old. Once names are added, they are reviewed to remove any duplicate entries.

“We recommend that all electors log on to VoterLookup.ca to ensure their information is up-to-date for the October 22, 2018 elections. Petawawa residents have until August 30 to update or confirm their information for 2018 municipal and school board elections at VoterLookup.ca,” said Beverley Disney, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Account Manager.

MPAC created the website in support of the 2014 election process as an easy-to-use platform to allow electors to confirm and update their information for the purposes of inclusion on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE). With it, Ontario electors can take an active role in maintaining accurate and up-to-date electoral information to be reflected on MPAC’s PLE for the 2018 municipal and school board elections.

To prevent fraud, everyone will be mailed a Voter Information Letter which contains a unique voter ID and PIN number. The voter will then input this information into the voting system along with their four-digit year of birth as an added security feature. The Voter Information Letter is scheduled to be delivered the first week of October.

“That way when students are home for Thanksgiving, they can take their letters with them to school so they can vote,” said Recoskie.

To be entitled to vote in the municipal election, one must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 on voting day, a resident in the municipality or is the owner, tenant or spouse of the owner, or tenant of land, which includes residents who live on the north and south side Residential Housing Units of Garrison Petawawa. The individual must also not be prohibited by law from voting.

If a person owns several residential properties across the province, they can vote in more than one municipality, however, they are still limited to one vote per municipality.

To ensure the municipal electoral process is understood by all military members at Garrison Petawawa the Garrison Commander, Colonel Louis Lapointe has asked his staff to facilitate an education campaign to better inform members of their right to vote in the community where they reside. Also during the 2018 election campaign, candidates in the Petawawa area will be provided with a special identification card that will allow them to canvas the north and south side Residential Housing Units.

The town’s certified candidates for mayor are Dan Criger and Bob Sweet, and running for council are Jason Burgoyne, James Carmody, Brent Daechsel, Marie-Philip Landry, Treena Lemay, Matthew McLean, Tom Mohns, Maria Morena-Church, Dominic Newman, Murray Rutz, Theresa Sabourin, and Gary Serviss. All four School Board Trustee positions have been acclaimed.

For more information, please visit www.petawawa.ca/townhall/elections.