How would you like to vote in the 2022 Municipal and School Board Election?

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Marking a choice of candidate on a ballot

The 2022 Municipal and School Board Elections will take place on October 24, 2022 across the Province of Ontario. The Town of Collingwood is seeking input from the public on their preferred method(s) of voting for the 2022 Municipal and School Board Elections. This election provides voters the ability to select who they would like to see on Council and as a School Board Trustee. Council for the Town of Collingwood includes the election of one Mayor, one Deputy Mayor and seven Councillors that represent all residents in the municipality.

Respond to our survey by Monday, June 28, 2021 to

The 2022 Municipal and School Board Elections will take place on October 24, 2022 across the Province of Ontario. The Town of Collingwood is seeking input from the public on their preferred method(s) of voting for the 2022 Municipal and School Board Elections. This election provides voters the ability to select who they would like to see on Council and as a School Board Trustee. Council for the Town of Collingwood includes the election of one Mayor, one Deputy Mayor and seven Councillors that represent all residents in the municipality.

Respond to our survey by Monday, June 28, 2021 to have your say on how the 2022 election will be conducted in Collingwood!

What is Alternative Voting?

The Municipal Elections Act provides municipalities the ability to use an alternative voting method, such as voting by mail, telephone or over the internet, as well as the ability to use voting and vote-counting equipment such as voting machines, voting recorders or optical scanning vote tabulators. These alternatives to the traditional polling station and paper ballot can provide enhanced accessibility to voters when casting a ballot, decrease counting errors through manual counting of ballots, increase efficiencies and reduce the time it takes to calculate election results.

Below is a list of different ways you can cast a ballot to vote in the municipal and school board elections. In order to use an alternative voting method, a by-law is required to be passed by Council. This by-law sets out the voting methods to be used in the upcoming municipal and school board election, whether tabulators will be used to assist in the counting of the ballots, and the days a registered voter can cast a ballot in advance of October 24, 2022.

Information on how each of the voting methods works can be found on the Voting Methods tab below, and can be accessed by clicking on any of the methods in the above list.


We want to hear from you!

Please complete the survey by Monday, June 28, 2021 to provide your input on alternative voting at the 2022 Municipal and School Board Elections in Collingwood. Responses will be shared with Council at the July 5, 2021 Strategic Initiatives standing committee meeting.

  • Traditional Paper Ballot

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    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.

    Benefits

    • 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.

    Challenges

    • 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)

  • Internet Voting

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    How it Works

    Voter information letters are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood. The voter information letter will provide the voter with instructions on when and how to vote using a devise such as a computer, laptop, tablet, iPad or smart phone to cast a ballot, and provide the voter with a unique voter ID and voter PIN number that will identify the voter when logging into the voting system to cast a ballot. A security question must be answered correctly by the voter, and a declaration confirming the voter is eligible to vote is required to be completed prior to being given access to a ballot.

    Once the voter is signed into the voting website, a ballot will appear on the screen providing the voter the ability to click on the candidates he/she wishes to vote for. Once the candidates have been selected, the voter is able to review his/her selections before casting the ballot. If satisfied with the selections, the voter clicks on the cast ballot button on the screen and the ballot is dropped into a virtual ballot box. Similar to a traditional ballot, once the ballot has been cast, it is no longer associated with the voter and the voters name is marked off on the voters list as having voted.

    Should a voter require assistance or does not have a device to access the internet to vote, a voter help centre is provided where election staff can provide assistance to the voter and offer a tablet or computer to cast their ballot from.

    As voters cast their ballot, the ballots are stored on secured remote servers that are inaccessible until after the voting period has closed, similar to a traditional ballot box. At the end of voting day, the votes are calculated using a click of a button.

    Benefits

    • Internet voting was used in the 2018 Municipal and School Board Election and is familiar to voters who cast their ballot over the internet in 2018.
    • It allows the voter to vote anywhere at any time, providing convenience and accessibility to the ballot.
    • Voters that use assisted devices such as screen readers can access and complete the ballot independently.
    • A ballot cannot be spoiled or rejected as the voting system does not allow a voter to over vote, and there is no ability to write notes or other markings on the ballot face that would cause a ballot to be rejected in a traditional paper ballot election.
    • Results of the election are provided immediately following the close of voting.
    • 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

    • Dependent on the accuracy of the voters list as voter information letters are mailed to only those listed on the voters list.
    • Some electors may not have access to internet or the necessary technology or device to cast a ballot, and would need to travel to the voter help centre to access the internet and/or device to cast a ballot. Please note, in the past, arrangements have been made to have an election worker visit the voter at their home if they are unable to travel to the help centre.
    • 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.

    Environmental Considerations

    All voting methods use paper in some form. Internet voting consumes the least amount of paper as it only requires a voter information letter and mailing envelope which is mailed out to all voters that are listed on the voters list. 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.

    In has been documented that internet voting promotes 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. Internet voting also eliminates the requirement to visit a postal box, post office or Town Hall to return a ballot needed for the mail-in voting method, or travel to a voting location to cast a traditional paper ballot.

    Although internet voting uses less paper and eliminates the need for transportation to cast a ballot, it uses electricity to power the servers that host the voting website, the devices used by voters to cast their ballot, and the global networks that connect them. It has been proven that although internet voting is not perfect in terms of sustainability, it produces far less greenhouse gas emissions than other forms of voting.

    Approximate Cost: $3.12 per registered voter

  • Vote by Mail

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    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

  • Touch Screen Voting

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    How it Works

    Voter notification cards are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood informing them of where and when they can vote and identification requirements. Voters use a touch screen system provided at a designated voting location to select their preferred candidates from each of the races and confirm their final ballot. A paper ballot is printed allowing the voter to review the completed ballot, then the ballot is run through an electronic tabulator to be counted. Upon the close of polls, all memory cards containing the votes scanned through the tabulators are securely brought to a central location and collated to determine election results.

    Benefits

    • The eligibility of a voter is verified in person before a ballot is provided to the voter
    • No possibility of inadvertently spoiling ballots
    • Eliminates need for pre-printed ballots
    • Fast and reliable results following close of polls

    Challenges

    • Expensive due to rental/purchase of touch screen voting kiosks
    • Potentially disenfranchises non-resident electors who may not be able to attend a designated voting location during the voting period
    • 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

    In-person elections create a significant environmental footprint, primarily through the use of vehicles to travel to and from voting sites. A 3.5km round trip by car produces approximately 2lbs of CO2. This is a considerably higher impact than other options such as mail in voting or internet voting that do not require individual car trips by each elector or small group of electors. The amount of paper waste generated is lower than other methods of in person voting as paper ballots are only produced once a person has actually voted, requiring no additional ballots to be printed. Many touch screen voting devices use standard printer paper so unused ballot paper can be reused for other purposes rather than be discarded. Touch screen devices draw approximately the same amount of power as optical scan tabulators (roughly 0.2 kilowatts each over a 12 hour period), although additional machines may be required to both print and mark ballots separately which would increase the overall energy cost.

    Approximate cost: $5.75 per registered elector

  • Telephone Voting

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    How it Works

    Voter information letters are mailed out to those listed on the voters list as being eligible to vote in Collingwood. The voter information letter will provide the voter with instructions on when and how to vote using a telephone to cast a ballot, and provide the voter with a unique voter ID and voter PIN number that will identify the voter when logging into the voting system to cast a ballot.

    At any point during the voting period, voters can log into the voting system over the telephone using their voter information provided in their voter information letter and answer a security question (generally date of birth). The voter is then required to agree to a voter declaration confirming their eligibility to vote and that it is the voter that is casting the ballot. Voters then choose their preferred candidates from each of the races through audio prompts and keypad selections and confirm their final ballot prior to submission. Once the voter is satisfied with the selections, the voter casts the ballot using a keypad selection and received confirmation that the ballot has been cast.

    Similar to a traditional paper ballot, once the ballot has been cast, it is no longer associated with the voter and the voters name is marked off on the voters list as having voted. Results are stored on remote servers that are inaccessible until after the voting period has closed. At the end of voting day, the votes are calculated using a click of a button, in the same manner as internet voting.

    Benefits

    • Telephone voting was used in conjunction with internet voting in the 2018 Municipal and School Board Election and is familiar to voters who cast their ballot over the telephone in 2018.
    • It allows the voter to vote anywhere at any time, providing convenience and accessibility to the ballot.
    • Voters that use assisted devices associated with the telephone can access and complete the ballot independently.
    • A ballot cannot be spoiled or rejected as the voting system does not allow a voter to over vote, and there is no ability to write notes or other markings on the ballot face that would cause a ballot to be rejected.
    • Results of the election are provided immediately following the close of voting.
    • 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

    • Dependent on the accuracy of the voters list as voter information letters are mailed to only those listed on the voters list.
    • The pronunciation of candidate names may be difficult to hear clearly and not recorded correctly.
    • The list of candidates can be long and difficult for the voter to listen to making the voting experience slow and cumbersome reducing its accessibility benefits.
    • If there are a large number of candidates, the phone system may time out requiring the voter to start over again and can take up to 20 minutes to cast a ballot.
    • 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.
    • This voting method is not being recommended in the 2022 Municipal and School Board Election due to the challenges associated with the large number of candidates in an at-large election.

    Environmental Considerations

    All voting methods use paper in some form. Telephone voting is similar to internet voting as it consumes the least amount of paper as it only requires a voter information letter and mailing envelope which is mailed out to all voters that are listed on the voters list. 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.

    Telephone voting promotes 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. It also eliminates the requirement to visit a postal box, post office or Town Hall to return a ballot as needed for the mail-in voting method, or travel to a voting location to cast a traditional paper ballot.

    Although telephone voting uses less paper and eliminates the need for transportation to cast a ballot, it uses electricity to power the servers that host the voting method and the global networks that connect the telephone to the hosting site. It has been proven that although telephone voting is not perfect in terms of sustainability, it produces far less greenhouse gas emissions than other forms of voting.


    Approximate Cost: $3.12 per registered voter