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City to learn more about Alberta’s proposed election changes

It will take the City of Lethbridge some time to evaluate the potential impact of the Alberta Government’s proposed Bill 20, which would direct changes to the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) and the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

“There is a lot to unpack and we do not have all the answers yet regarding the potential impacts this could have on the City of Lethbridge,” says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. “We certainly want to hear more details and are pleased to know that Municipal Affairs has committed to engage municipalities during the coming months regarding the possible changes. At this time, the proposed legislation would not introduce party politics outside Calgary and Edmonton.”

Bill 20 would also eliminate the use of electronic tabulators and other automated voting machines, requiring all ballots to be counted by hand.

“The City of Lethbridge has used electronic tabulators for decades. The last time votes were hand counted here was in 1989. The proposed change back to this method would possibly require the production of an Electors’ Register, which may require another new municipal census, as well additional paid staff in the lead-up to and on Election Day,” says City Clerk Bonnie Hilford.

“The potential costs and extra staff that may be associated with these proposed changes is something that will need to be explored and better understood,” says Hilford. “Our aim is to understand how these changes by the Province could have a direct impact to the local taxpayer.”

The LAEA establishes the framework for the conduct of elections in Alberta municipalities. The MGA establishes the rules governing the conduct of local elected officials once on council, as well as the overall administration and operation of municipal authorities in Alberta.

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