Vote by Mail

How it Works

Voter kits are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood. This voter kit includes instructions on how to vote, a paper ballot, a prepaid return envelope, secrecy envelope and a voter declaration to be signed and returned with the ballot kit. The voter completes the declaration confirming they are eligible to vote and it is them completing the ballot, mark their choices on the ballot, put the ballot into the secrecy envelope and seal the envelope, then put the secrecy envelope containing the ballot and the signed declaration into the prepaid envelop and mail it back to the Town Hall.

As the ballot kits are received at Town Hall, the envelope is opened. The declaration form is reviewed and the voter is stroke off the voters list as voted, and the secrecy envelope containing the ballot remains sealed and placed in a ballot box until voting closes. After the polls close, the ballots are removed from the secrecy envelope and run through a tabulator which counts the votes on each ballot. The votes are stored on memory cards from the count tabulators are collated to determine election results which are generally available within a couple of hours after voting has closed.

Benefits

  • Voting by mail-in ballot has been used in Collingwood for three municipal and school board elections so it is familiar to those who voted in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 elections.
  • It allows the voter to vote anywhere at any time, providing convenience and accessibility to the ballot.
  • Should pandemic still be an issue, this method would create the fewest complexities with regards to maintaining COVID-19 protocols as voters would not be required to travel to a voting location to cast a ballot.

Challenges

  • Lack of ability to confirm the voter’s identity and eligibility in person, relying on the voter to be truthful when completing the declaration of eligibility to vote.
  • 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.
  • Dependent on the accuracy of the voters list as voter information letters are mailed to only those listed on the voters list.

Environmental Considerations

All voting methods use paper in some form, however, the mail-in ballot consumes the most amount of paper as it requires an instruction sheet, ballot, mailing envelope, return envelope and secrecy envelope. The paper used is recyclable and staff will endeavour to remind voters to recycle the material, and request that unused voter material be ‘return to sender’ (the Town) for appropriate safe disposal and voter list management.

Alternative voting methods such as online voting and mail-in voting promote the reduction of our carbon footprint as voters are able to vote in the comfort of their own home not having to travel to a voting location to cast a ballot. Consideration should however be given to the movement of a mail-in ballot and how it gets form the postal box, post office or Town Hall to return a ballot needed for the mail-in voting method, as well as the transit from a Canada Post mail box, to a mail distribution center(s), to the local post office, then to the municipal facility where the ballots are counted.

Electricity would also be used to tabulate the mail-in ballots to tally votes, but this would be minimal.

Approximate Cost: $4.67 per registered voter

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