Huntsville will start to get an idea of who is running for municipal office this spring. Changes to the Municipal Act mean the campaign period is going to be shorter this year; the nomination period opens on May 1st and all candidates must have their names in by July 27th. Another change bans candidates from accepting financial contributions from corporations and trade unions, in order for a fair and accountable election. Candidates will be allowed to canvas door-to-door from 9:00am until 9:00pm, and landlords won’t be able to prevent tenants from putting up campaign signs in their windows. Candidates will have to file their paperwork in person, with at least 25 signatures from eligible electors in Huntsville.
Voters will be able to cast a ballot either online from a computer, tablet or smartphone, or over the phone. Eligible voters will get a personalized Voters Information Letter in the mail, which will give directions on how to get entered in the voting system. Town Hall will be an Election Help Centre during the voting period, which runs from October 12th to the 22nd. Voters will be casting a vote for the District Chair, Mayor, eight Councillors and a school board trustee.
Online ballots were used in the municipality for the 2010 election, but the town switched back to mail-in ballots in 2014 after some issues came up. That includes PINs having to be sent out more than once, and the server crashing. This year, a different company is being used than in 2010, which town staff says has been extensively tested to make sure it can accommodate the anticipated processing load.
Using the internet cost around $75,000 in 2010 and mail-in ballots cost around $90,000 in 2014. The budget for this year’s election is just under $120,000 and $150,000 has been aside in reserves.
The town is expected to hold a public information session on voting details closer to the election. You can read more about the election procedures on the town website.