Traditional Paper Ballot

How it Works

Voter information cards are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood. The voter information card will provide the voter with information on when and where to vote. Voting would take place at a polling station where the voter would attend in person and provide identification to the election worker verifying who they are and that they are eligible to vote in the election. A paper ballot would be provided to the voter where the voter would check off their preferred candidates using a marker behind a privacy screen. Once the ballot has been completed, the voter would then drop the completed ballot into a ballot box.

The completed ballots are kept in a secure ballot box until Election Day. After voting is closed, the ballots are removed from the ballot boxes and either counted by hand or by using a tabulator. A tabulator is a scanning device that scans the ballots, counting the votes on each ballot using a software program.


  • The traditional paper ballot is very familiar to voters as it is used in provincial and federal elections to vote.
  • The eligibility of a voter is verified in person before a ballot is provided to the voter.
  • Voting by a traditional paper ballot does not relay on computers so there is no risk of technology related interruptions or delays.


  • It can be expensive to run an election using a traditional paper ballot as more staff and volunteers and additional voting locations needed.
  • Voters that are eligible to vote in the municipal election but do not reside in Collingwood may not be able to attend a voting location to cast a ballot, making the election not accessible to people that don’t live in Collingwood full time.
  • Manual counting of votes can be time consuming, delaying the results of the election.
  • With a hand marked ballot, there is more chance of error on the ballot. If there is an error on a ballot, that ballot is required to be rejected and not counted.
  • As the voter is required to attend a voting location in person and complete their ballot independently, there are concerns with accessibility of voting for those voters with varying abilities.
  • Additional protocols would need to be in place should there still be concern with COVID-19 and public safety. This could cause delays at the voting locations and additional accessibility restrictions.

Environmental Considerations

All voting methods use paper in some form. In a traditional paper ballot election, there is a voter information card that is mailed out to all voters that are listed on the voters list, as well as the printed ballot. The paper used is recyclable and election staff will endeavour to remind voters to recycle the materials that are no longer needed, such as the voter information card, and will be disposing of paper materials no longer needed by shredding and recycling the materials.

It has been documented that an election using a traditional paper ballot can produce more greenhouse gas emissions should a voter not be within walking distance of a voting location and is reliant on motorized transportation to get them to and from the voting location.

Electricity would also be used in a paper ballot election where a count tabulator is used to tally votes, but this would be minimal.

Approximate Cost: $5.00 per registered voter (includes use of tabulator for counting votes)

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