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City adding voting options for municipal election

Changes are in the works for residents preparing to cast their votes in this year’s municipal election.

Lloydminster residents will be headed back to the polls this fall to select a mayor and council for the next four years. In order for residents to vote safely, city council is looking at the 2020 Election Bylaw and making amendments to make voting easier while also following provincial health guidelines.

Changes includes allowing mail-in ballots for both advanced polls and on election day and possibly adding a drive-through poll if needed.

Mayor Gerald Aalbers says he’s heard from resident snowbirds wishing to vote but may be out of the country during the election.

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“We don’t know where travel is going to be this fall. Some people may have their travel plans changed, subject to what’s going on in the world, but at the same token, we want to try and make it as friendly and as easy for people to be able to cast their vote as possible.”

Aalbers says making more accessibility changes will also give those unable to travel within the city, such as people with health issues, a way to vote. The amendments may also lead to a higher turnout which Aalbers says is a goal for the city and the Saskatchewan government.

“I know city clerks have been discussing it. I understand there’s been a lot of discussion in Saskatchewan trying to figure out how they can encourage people to vote and this is just another way to make it as simple as possible.”

Another amendment is focused on transparency and will require candidates to disclose all campaign contributions equal to or more than $250. The original draft had the disclosure amount at $50 however, Councillor Ken Baker says the low amount could cause conflict within a future council.

“It’s not about transparency and after it’s all over and you get in the council chamber, you look over and say ‘well my friend Joe gave him $50 and he didn’t give me anything’ and on it goes. There are situations where they have elections and they don’t appoint a mayor until after the election and the council votes for the mayor and the vote is split.”

The bylaw will be in front of city council for a first reading at the next meeting on June 22. The election is scheduled for November 9.

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