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Saanich municipal election plans revisit mobile polling

Last week council gave the OK to mobile voting at UVic and seniors residences

Saanich will break new ground come November, approaching students with enhanced voting opportunities in the municipal election.

Council last week approved the 2014 Saanich Local Government Elections budget of $285,240 which will include mobile voting for University of Victoria students and a return to mobile polls at seniors residences.

“We’re the first to go there,” said Mayor Frank Leonard, of adding UVic to advanced voting locations.

A report to council from electoral officer Carrie McPhee, director of legislative services, outlined suggested changes to the voter process this municipal election.

The idea for an advance poll at UVic came from informal surveys done at the university and Camosun last year. Camosun students did not express interest.

“Students will have to make the decision when they go to register, because it changes the provincial and federal voters list,” Leonard said.

McPhee’s election strategy includes $8,000 to reintroduce the mobile voting for senior residences. They were removed last election and replaced with mail-in voting.

“Didn’t work,” Leonard said. “She’s reinstating a mobile poll that would drive around to retirement communities.”

The cost per registered voter under this budget is $3.38.

“It’s reasonable. It’s worth it if we can increase the turnout. Democracy is so precious, anything we can do to encourage people to use it,” Leonard said. “It’ll be interesting to see how many more voters we get.”