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Sault allows mail-in votes in 2022 municipal election (3 council briefs)

Option may increase the cost of next year's elections by $45,000
The Civic Centre is pictured in this aerial photo. Zack Trunzo/Village Media

Local voters will be allowed to register to vote by mail in the next municipal election on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.

That decision was made this week by City Council.

The city clerk's department had recommended a $320,000 election with paper ballots cast in person, then scanned and counted using portable tabulators.

But Ward 3 Couns. Matthew Shoemaker and Donna Hilsinger persuaded their council colleagues to add an option allowing voters to register with the municipality to receive mail-in voting packages.

The cost of that addition won't be known until after the election, but if 10 per cent of eligible voters (approximately 5,500) register, the election would cost an extra $45,000.

In the last election, the city successfully administered a vote-by-mail election for school boards in unorganized parts of Algoma District.

A scientific poll conducted by Village Media/SooToday in April and May found that 40.72 per cent of respondents reported having a very good understanding of voting by mail and it was the preferred way of remote voting for 15.61 per cent of respondents.

Some other items of interest from this week's City Council meeting

  • councillors endorsed a community safety and well-being plan addressing immediate and long-term social risks. As detailed in a report by SooToday's James Hopkin, the plan was similarly endorsed by the Sault's police services board
  • a municipal autism strategy prepared by the city's accessibility advisory committee was received as information. Autism roadmaps to services available to those 16 years of age and younger, and to older persons, will be added to the city's website