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Voting changes being made in Regina's municipal election

Changes intended to encourage more to vote
Reported by Patrick Book
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Changes are being made to where and when you can vote in Regina to encourage more people to cast a ballot in the upcoming municipal election.

"Our voter turnout was fairly low so we want to try a strategy around going to where people are during the day," said Deputy City Clerk Amber Smale.

"We've increased our advanced polls to shopping centres (and) City Hall. We're going to offer a drive-through advance voting opportunity, and also an advanced voting location at SGI (downtown) for one day."

"It makes us more visible in the community and so that's our hope that that visibility will in turn encourage people to get out and vote."

Voter turnout was extremely low in the last municipal election three years ago.  Smale says only 25 per cent of eligible voters in Regina bothered to cast a ballot.

Getting more of those potential voters out means more than where you vote will change.  When you can vote is being overhauled as well.

Advance voting is getting extra attention. In previous elections, advance voting could only be done in the week leading up to election day. Smale says that limited options for those out of town, working during polling hours or otherwise unable to get to a polling station.

That advance voting change then impacts the number of polling stations open on election day, which is Oct. 24.

There will be only 30 polling stations. In the past, there were 52.

The location of the electoral office is also moving from its previous Winnipeg Street address to a space at the Victoria Square Mall in the east end. Candidates will be required to drop off nomination forms and other paperwork there.

Smale says the new space is a more well-kept, professional space that will offer plenty of parking, something lacking in the previous location. Two paid staff members will be working from that office.

"We do try always to keep it separate from City Hall itself. There needs to be that public transparency of the election process and the democratic rights of individuals."

Edited by CJME's Karen Brownlee