The Blue Mountains council has approved a resolution from Mayor Alar Soever that asks the province to ensure that all candidates in a municipal election receive a copy of the local voters list that includes full mailing addresses of voters.
Council voted in favour of Mayor Soever’s motion at its meeting on May 24. Soever introduced the motion at a previous meeting after he said he received conflicting information about the voters list and mailing addresses at a recent seminar for prospective candidates. He said some municipalities, like The Blue Mountains, provide the full list including mailing addresses, while others do not provide the addresses.
Soever said a subsequent email conversation with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing didn’t provide him with clarity on the issue.
“We always talk about maximum participation in our elections,” said Soever. “This is a very easy way of doing that.”
Soever said it was a disadvantage to candidates running in an election to not have mailing addresses for all voters, as some local voters have mailing addresses outside the community. In addition, he noted the voters themselves would not receive information from prospective candidates if mailing addresses were not provided.
“It’s very important to maximize the participation in all our elections,” said Soever. “We should support the democratic ideals our country is founded on.”
Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon said he supported any tools that can drive up voting rates.
“This is a great idea,” he said.
Councillor Rob Sampson asked if the mailing addresses of voters would be provided to non-candidates interested in the information. Sampson noted that non-candidates wishing to advertise about the election are required to register with the municipality.
“What about third-party advertisers? What would be their status?” Sampson asked.
Clerk Corrina Giles said, at this time, The Blue Mountains has no registered third-party advertisers and she said those groups would not receive the voters list.
Council voted 6-0 in favour of Soever’s resolution, with Councillor Jim Uram absent. The resolution will now be forwarded to every municipality in Ontario, the Premier’s office, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca