Since 2006 the Town of Erin has conducted Vote By Mail Elections for Municipal Elections. Vote by Mail is an alternative voting method where a voter kit is mailed to each eligible elector on the voters list in the Town of Erin. Voters have the option to return the completed mail kits via mail, or they can be hand delivered to the Ballot Return Station which is located at the Town of Erin Municipal Offices 5684 Trafalgar road, Hillsburgh ON, N0B 1Z0. The Town of Erin uses an at large system where all voters can vote for all seats up for election. For example, when electing 5 representatives, voters may vote for five candidates. 4 Councillor candidates with the highest number of votes will win the election, and the Mayoral candidate with the highest number of votes will win the election.
Why are we using Vote by Mail?
- Ease and convenience for voters as it can be done in the comfort of their homes and on their own time.
- It is an accessible way to vote for all voters.
- Voters do not need to be in Town on Election Day to vote.
- Many Ontario municipalities successfully conducted their municipal elections in 2018 using Vote by Mail, including neighbouring municipalities of Guelph Eramosa, Centre Wellington, Minto and Mapleton.
- A way to avoid COVID-19 health risks associated with large crowds at polling places.
What safeguards are in place to make voting by mail secure?
The Town’s vote-by-mail system includes several security features.
- Vote-by-mail is a double envelope system that protects the confidentiality of the voter in a secure manner. Just like any other paper bill or payments, your completed voter kits are processed through Canada Post.
- The Clerk appoints election officials, as necessary, to receive ballot packages. Election officials at the designated hand delivery area are responsible to ensure the safekeeping of ballot packages.
- The ballot packages are delivered directly to the Municipal Office and a minimum of two election officials will be present when the mail is sorted on a daily basis unless special arrangements have been made to permit a minimum of two election officials to attend the post office to pick up ballot packages.
- The ballot packages are sent to the storage area designated by the Clerk. The storage area designated by the Clerk will be locked at all times and the only keys available for the area will be limited to the Clerk, Deputy Returning Officer and one Election Official.
- A minimum of two election officials will count the returned ballot packages into bundles of 25 and place them into a secure storage container that is securely sealed. A minimum of two election officials will initial the seal and the secure storage container shall be dated and numbered “x” of “total received and packed on the day”.
- All sealed secure storage containers will be stored in a secure location designated by the Clerk until processed in accordance with the procedures set out for Opening of Ballot Packages and Scanning of Voter Declaration Forms.
- On Election Day, staff will be using a Vote Tabulating Unit which reads and records how ballots are marked, stores the information and produces election results after the close of the voting place. The system has been proven to be precise, easy to use and capable of generating the final election results quickly.
For more information on our processes please refer to the Town’s 2022 Election Procedures Manual