Elections P.E.I. is trying out a number of initiatives to try and increase the vote in the upcoming municipal election.
Elections P.E.I. is responsible for conducting elections in Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall, while the province handles the rest of the Island’s municipalities.
Paul Alan, manager of election operations and communications for Elections P.E.I., said new this year will be voting at the returning offices in addition to the already scheduled advance polls and election day.
“It went over so well we’re doing it (again),’’ Alan said Tuesday.Elections P.E.I. ran this as a pilot project during last year’s District 11 byelection in Charlottetown that saw the Green Party’s Hannah Bell elected to the legislature.
Voters will be able to cast their ballots at the four returning officer headquarters on Oct. 24, 25 and 26, and again on Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1. People are asked to bring along their voter information card or identification. The offices will be open on each of the six days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There’s also the mail-in ballot application available. The cut-off date for that is Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. On Oct. 24, Elections P.E.I. will mail ballots to all those that have been approved.
“We’re also introducing this time (a) campus vote where we’re going to be on location at UPEI, Holland College (in) Summerside and Holland College (in) Charlottetown and we’ll give students going to those institutions a chance to vote right on campus.’’
There is also, of course, the standard advance polls to take into consideration. They take place on Oct. 27, 29 and Nov. 2 with election day on Nov. 5.
In terms of voter turnout, P.E.I. rules the roost in Canada. Turnout hovers around the mid-80 per cent range for provincial elections, and while it drops quite a bit for municipal elections, it’s still strong compared to other provinces.
“Some provinces might get 55 to 60 per cent turnout on a provincial election and we’re getting 50 to 55 per cent municipally,’’ Alan said. “We’d like to see that increase and anything over that would be great so we’re doing a lot of extra social media (and) reminding people the importance of getting registered to vote.’’
Those who aren’t registered ahead of time will still be allowed to vote but getting registered makes the process faster for people, he said.
For those who preregister, they will get a card in the mail before the election.
“If you take that with you, you can be in and out of the door in less than two minutes rather than having to go and stand in line and get registered and go through that process of what you’ve had to do in the past.’’
Alan said Elections P.E.I. hopes all of the extras it has added will boost voter turnout.
People can register on Elections P.E.I.’s website at electionspei.ca.
Where to vote
Municipal voters in Charlottetown, Summerside, Cornwall and Stratford may vote at the returning officers headquarters on Oct. 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 and Nov. 1:
Charlottetown – Charlottetown Event Grounds office, 360 Grafton St., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cornwall – Cornwall Town Hall, 39 Lowther Dr., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Stratford – Stratford Town Centre, 234 Shakespeare Dr., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Summerside – County Fair Mall, 475 Granville St., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.