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Report recommends vote by mail for Guelph's 2022 election

Council will debate the option on February 17, 2021
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The City of Guelph might be getting the option for mail-in ballots for their 2022 municipal election as a new report recommends council to approve the option in addition to in-person ballots.

According to Stephen O'Brien, General Manager at the City of Guelph Clerk's Office, the mail-in option has been used by many different municipalities across Canada, and the method has been well tested.

"The provincial election in British Columbia...early on during the pandemic they employed a vote by mail option and some other larger municipalities that have had by-elections in Ontario have used vote by mail in recent history."

O'Brien said mail-in ballots are not that different than voting in-person, as they will still use paper ballots, and the same vote-counting system that is used for in-person ballots will be done for mail-ins.

"It creates a familiarity, so you've got people who are familiar with navigating a paper ballot they are used to that. They go to a voting location traditionally and they use paper ballots, so there is a level of familiarity."

City staff say if the pandemic continues well into next year, this may be a solid option that would be put into place and planned well before the 2022 election.

"We think that a vote by mail option is a solid option that addresses the challenges of working and delivering municipal elections during a pandemic. We may or may not have a pandemic before us in October of 2022. We may be out of it hopefully, but we can give this a good service option."

Council will discuss the report at a special meeting scheduled for February 17, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.

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