The RM of Prince Albert is aiming to open up democracy for the upcoming municipal election. At their regular meeting on Thursday, June 11 the council moved to create a mail in-ballot for the election scheduled for October.
Reeve Eric Schmalz explained that the ballot was set up for property owners who no no longer live in the Municipality or will be away for Election Day can have an option to vote. The ballots will be obtained through contacting the RM office.
“This will be the first election. That was one of the things I wanted brought in after I was elected because there were a significant number of people who approached me and said they can’t be there for the election but would like to still vote and there was only two options, one was the advanced poll and one was the general election day,” Schmalz said.
The move was done to expand options for participating in the democratic process.
“People would be able to vote remotely or outside of the normal scheduled,”
Mail in ballots will be available seven days after nominations are closed, that date is to be determined, and must be requested 14 days prior to election day. Completed ballots must be delivered before the close of polls on Election Day.
“After the nominations end you can request, it might be five or six days before the ballots are printed but what we are trying to do is have them ready to go so that any individual can request them and all you have to do is fill in the names and put them in right away. (The goal was to) have the form and standardize and have them ready to go,” Schmalz said.
During the report by Planning officer Jason Kaptein the council also worked to expand options with rural addresses. Like other areas construction starts are down in the RM due to the pandemic,
“We are not seeing the activity that we once were in the Planning Department but we are working on other things like rural addressing and things like that. Those are projects that we are going to be taking on so that we can have people in the RM can get better access to resources like policing and things like that where police can find them and for fire departments or anybody even looking at the possibility of having courier delivery to a rural area, that would be an option once you have a physical address,” he explained.
The council also put in place a speed reduction on Bibby Road and increased the voluntary payment for repeat speeding offences during the bylaw portion of the meeting
Division 5 Councillor Wayne Acorn, who was expelled from council’s February meeting was given an opportunity to address the Reeve and council again but did not attend.