With the Municipal election on Monday, October 21st fast approaching, as a resident you can soon expect to have your doorbell rung by various people running for political office hoping to get your vote. So do you know who your candidates are and what they stand for? Even though official Nomination Day is not until September 23rd, several people in the area, and most of the incumbents, have made their intentions clear and this gives the public more of an opportunity to ask questions and gauge the answers.
Many people have been heard to comment that they do not vote because they feel that their one vote is not important or that it doesn't matter to them who is in power because the government really doesn't affect them. Realistically, this could not be further from the truth. Local government touches almost every aspect of our lives from the residential taxes we pay, to the roads we drive on, the park space and amenities an area has, the types of emergency and family services offered, and the types of businesses and entertainment welcomed into a community. There has also been many times when Mayors and Councillors have won or lost their seats by one or two votes, so in a Municipal election every vote really does count.
With Municipal elections, as opposed to Provincial or Federal elections, the candidate has to be a resident of the area they are running in, and they are running on their own merit, not as a party representative. This is why it is in the residents' best interest to get to know your candidates backgrounds, beliefs, and opinions, and find out why they are running to see if this person would best represent your ideals for the area.
With "silly season" about to get underway there are a couple of important changes with this years' elections that you as a voter need to be aware of, as well as where and when to cast your vote.
One way this next election will differ from previous elections is that the winning candidates will be sitting in office for a four year term instead of three. This change could have positive or negative connotations depending on personal opinion. An extra year in office will allow the elected Mayor and Council to move forward with more projects and hopefully see some through to completion in a single term but alternately if you disagree with the direction your elected leaders are moving in, then the community still has them in power for four years as opposed to the previous three. Just one more reason to make an informed vote.
The other major change in this years' election is that all residents must have acceptable pieces of identification in their possession when they go to vote at the polls. For the City of Leduc voters you must have a drivers licence or a government issued photo I.D. card or one piece of identification from a list deemed acceptable by the City's Chief Electoral Officer which can be found on the City's website at www.leduc.ca.
For Leduc County residents you must have on hand a drivers licence or a government issued photo I.D. card or TWO pieces of identification from a list deemed acceptable which can be found on the County's website at www.leduc-county.com.
The basic rules of eligibility to be able to vote in the upcoming election are the same for both City and County residents and they are that you must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen, have resided in Alberta for the 6 consecutive months immediately preceding election day, and the person’s main place of residence is located in their voting area on election day.
On October 21st there will be 19 different polling stations open to Leduc County residents and 7 polling stations for Leduc City residents. Locations of all the stations can be found on the respective area websites or by calling the City or County offices. Each polling station will only accept voters from the area it encompasses so prior to Election Day ensure that you know which station you need to be at to cast your vote. All stations will be open for voting from 10 am until 8 pm at which time the doors will be locked and only the residents that are inside the building at that time will still be eligible to vote.
For people who will not be able to cast their vote on Election Day advance polls are available. For City of Leduc residents the advance polls are available on October 10, 2013 (12 pm – 8 pm) in the Lede Room at the Civic Centre or on October 19, 2013 (10 am – 5 pm) in the Ledcor Room at the Civic Centre.
For County residents the advance polls are on Thursday, October 10, 2013, from noon to 8 pm and Saturday, October 12, 2013, from 10 am to 6 pm and the stations will be located at the Nisku Inn and Conference Centre, 1101 4 St., Nisku and at Arctic Spas Recreation Complex, 4901 48 Ave., Thorsby.
Residents of Leduc County will hold the responsibility of electing seven Councillors to represent the seven divisions within the County. The position of "Mayor" in Leduc County is voted on internally by Council at their organizational meeting and is not open to public voting.
Residents of the City of Leduc are tasked with electing six Aldermen and one Mayor, as well as two Black Gold School Division Trustees and two St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School Trustees.
So whether you like things the way they are in your area or you'd like to see some changes there is only one way to ensure your voice is heard; on October 21st let's see everyone get out and VOTE!