|The civic election|
If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s election season again. Driving down many of the streets of Winnipeg, you will inevitably notice all the different signs for city councillor, school board trustee and of course, mayor of Winnipeg. Winnipeggers will head to the polls on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 for our civic election.
Who is Eligible to Vote?
People who are residents of the City of Winnipeg are eligible to vote if they are:
1. a Canadian citizen;
2. 18 years old or older on October 27, 2010; and
3. a resident of the City of Winnipeg since April 27, 2010.
This means that if you are a bagong dating, or if you have taken the citizenship test but have not yet taken the citizenship oath, or if you moved to Winnipeg from another part of Canada on April 26, 2010, or if you turn 18 on October 28, 2010, you are not yet eligible to vote in this election. However, if you are a student attending university or college outside of Winnipeg but you intend to return to Winnipeg after the end of the term, you are considered a resident voter and are eligible to vote.
Also, if you meet all the criteria but you move from one part of Winnipeg to another before Election Day, you can still vote but you must do so in the new area you now live in. Although you will be able to vote for the mayor and city councillor, you will not be able to vote for school trustee unless you were a resident of the school division since April 27th, 2010. For example, if you lived in the Tyndall Park area and you moved to the Maples in September 2010, you will not be eligible to vote for school trustee because Tyndall Park is part of the Winnipeg School Division and the Maples is part of the Seven Oaks School Division. However, if you lived in the Maples and you moved to the Garden City area even as late as October 27th, 2010, you will still be eligible to vote for school trustee because both areas are part of the Seven Oaks School Division.
Non-resident voters are also eligible to vote if they are Canadian citizens, over 18 years old on Election Day and are registered owners of land in the City of Winnipeg, as listed in The City of Winnipeg Assessment Roll since April 27, 2010.
If you are eligible to vote, your name will likely appear on the Voters List. The City of Winnipeg uses the National Register of Electors that is compiled by Elections Canada to compile their list. Every person whose name appears on the Voters List will receive a Voters Notice in the mail. The Notice will state your voting place, voting station and hours of voting. The City is mailing out these notices between September 27 and October 4, 2010. If you do not receive your Voters Notice, contact 311 to determine if your name appears on the Voters List. However, even if your name is not on the Voters List, you can still vote, as long as you are eligible to vote on Election Day or at any of the Advance Voting Locations. At the poll, you will simply be asked to read and sign a form called the “Oath of Voter” before you can vote.
When you go to vote, you will be asked to provide one piece of photo identification that contains your name and address (i.e. driver’s licence) or two other pieces of identification, one of which must contain your address. The following documents are considered acceptable: Manitoba Health Services Commission card, Manitoba Blue Cross card, a blank personalized cheque, a credit card statement, an Old Age Pension/Security card, an Income Tax Assessment statement or a utility bill.
For the Civic election, there are numerous opportunities to vote aside from the actual election day of October 27, 2010. All eligible voters can vote at any of the following places:
- City Hall – October 4-9, 12-16, 19-22 – times vary
- University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg – October 12 & 13 – 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
- Red River College (Notre Dame Campus) – October 14 & 15 – 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
- Garden City Shopping Centre – Friday, October 8 – 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
- St. Vital Centre and Grant Park Shopping Centre – October 9 at 9:30 am to 6:00 pm and October 10 at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Portage Place Shopping Centre – Friday, October 15 – 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Polo Park Shopping Centre – October 16 at 9:30 am to 6:00 pm and October 17 at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Kildonan Place Shopping Centre – Sunday, October 17 – 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
All eligible voters can also vote on October 19, 20 and 21st from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at 15 different schools and community centres around the city. Advance voting opportunities will also be held in seniors’ residences, personal care homes and health care facilities between October 4th and October 22nd for eligible voters residing in those voting places. In addition, voters who will not be in Winnipeg during Election Day and advance voting days or voters who are unable to go in person to a polling station can request an application to vote by mail. This is called “Voting by Sealed Envelope Ballot.” You must apply before Friday, October 22nd to be eligible.
From 8 am to 8 pm on Wednesday, October 27th, residents from all over our city will be exercising their democratic right to vote. If, however you know that you can’t make it that day, please take the time to use one of the many alternative voting days or methods that are being made available to all eligible voters. If you’re at the university, take a few moments to vote. If you’re shopping one night, take a few moments to vote. If you’re out doing errands and you pass one of the dozens of places hosting advance polls, take a few moments to vote. The excuse that you just don’t have the time isn’t good enough. So, please, make your voice be heard and go out to vote.
Alona C. Mercado is a lawyer practising in Winnipeg with the law firm of MONK GOODWIN LLP. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1999 and the Ontario Bar in 2003. Her preferred areas of practice include wills and estates, committees, real estate, and immigration law. Alona can be reached at (204) 956-1060 ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.