In an effort to increase accessibility and convenience, Lethbridge residents will be able to vote at any voting station across the city during the 2021 Municipal Election.
Rather than having dedicated neighbourhood voting stations, as in previous elections, voters will be able to pick the station that works for them. This will apply to both Advanced Vote days, commencing October 1, and on Election Day, October 18 – and is one of the major changes coming to help increase voter turnout.
This is the first time this will be done anywhere in Alberta and both the City of Lethbridge and the City of Red Deer are amending their election operations to implement this change.
"I am pleased to have collaborated with the City of Red Deer Returning Officer, Samantha Rodwell, to jointly announce this progressive initiative," says Returning Officer Bonnie Hilford. "This improvement will provide more options for voting with a focus on convenience, flexibility and efficiency. As part of this initiative, we are hoping to see an increase in voter turnout, as turnout for the last five elections has only been 31 per cent, on average."
Other new initiatives that the City of Lethbridge are planning include:
- Drive-through voting, which would allow voting from a vehicle without leaving the vehicle
- A web tool for monitoring lineups/wait time at each voting station
- An information session for candidates running for Mayor or Councillor from a panel of retiring members of Council, to be recorded and posted to the website in July
- Information videos from each candidate running for Mayor, Councillor and School Board Trustee (public and separate), recorded and posted on the website after the September 20 Nominations Day deadline
- An accessible voting station for the blind during the Advance Vote
As in past elections, the following services will also be offered in 2021:
- Advance Voting. Three weekends of advance voting commencing October 1 as follows:
- Weekend 1: Downtown
- Weekend 2: East
- Weekend 3: West
- Advance Voting is open to any eligible voter and also allows voting anywhere.
- Institutional Voting (assisted living, seniors' residences, hospitals). An opportunity for electors within institutions to vote
- Elector Assistance at Home. Those incapacitated will have the opportunity to vote at their residence
At the election, Lethbridge voters will vote for one Mayor, eight Councillors and either Lethbridge School Division or Holy Spirit Catholic School Division Trustees. The Municipal Election candidate nomination period opened in Lethbridge on January 1 and nomination forms will be accepted until September 20, 2021 at 12 p.m.
Visit the City's election website at lethbridge.ca/election for more information.