The District of Saanich will be rolling out more options to increase voter turnout in November’s municipal election.
Council voted this week to reinstate mobile voting stations, which had been replaced by mail-in ballots in 2011. Both options will now be available in the fall, said Mayor Frank Leonard.
“[Staff] found that we had good results with the mail-in ballot, but where there had been better turnout with the mobile poll, it wasn’t there with the mail-in ballot,” Leonard said. “That’s why they’re going to do both.”
University of Victoria students and staff will also be able to vote on campus, thanks to a new advanced polling station.
“The campus draws students from all over the region, which makes municipal voting a bit complicated,” said Coun. Dean Murdock. “Victoria and Oak Bay are also going to have voting opportunities at UVic, so between the three municipalities, we will be able to help people find their home for voting.”
Students will need to identify themselves along with their address in order to vote, Murdock said.
“But unlike provincial or federal, you’re not restricted to a particular voting location.”
Murdock said Saanich wants to make voting as accessible as possible to its residents.
“If we can encourage people to get engaged and interested, and make it easy for them to cast a ballot, I think it’s important to do that,” he said.
Along those lines, Murdock said council also asked staff to look into putting voting stations at popular public places such as shopping centres and recreation centres.
“If it’s something Saanich can do to make [voting] more convenient, that’s always something we want to see go forward,” he said.
The municipal election takes place Nov. 15.