News / Calgary

Calgary municipal election gets shiny new features

Online candidate profiles finally make an appearance to help Calgarians decide

Coun. Evan Woolley thinks Calgary can achieve better voter turnout than the average 36 per cent.

METRO FILE

Coun. Evan Woolley thinks Calgary can achieve better voter turnout than the average 36 per cent.

This won’t be your grandpa’s election.

Calgary’s returning officer has implemented fresh ideas in hopes they will get municipal voters, especially millennials, excited to cast their ballots this October. Initiatives will be presented to councillors for the first time on Tuesday.

On the list are simple things like adding stops for the Advance Vote bus, and giving voters stickers they can proudly wear after they’ve practiced their municipal rights and participated in the city’s democratic process.

According to the data, Calgary is middle of the class when it comes to voter turnout. The average since 1974 is 36 per cent. But Coun. Evan Woolley thinks we can do better, and he’s hoping on top of some of these fresh ideas, he can rally to do even more – including looking at voter age.

He originally asked the returning officer for a report on the feasibility of free transit on election day.

“Every time someone brings forward an idea we say, ‘That’s not going to change it that much,’ but there’s lots and lots of ideas, right?” said Woolley. “If we start piecing together, start working on a whole lot of ideas and start engaging Calgarians in politics and democracy then we start to turn the curve.”

Woolley said he’s disappointed that the report doesn’t include a future vision for the municipal elections to come.

“What is our vision to increase voters?” Woolley asked. “We have goals of waste diversion from our landfill sites, right? What are our goals and targets to increase voter turnout and to really set a longer term framework to do that.”

He said the city needs to start measuring and driving outcomes for the municipal elections.

Five things to know about the 2017 Municipal election, and increased accessibility for voters:

Candidate profile pages on the city’s website

It seems like a no-brainer. But this will be the first year the city’s election website will have candidate profiles voters can browse and read up on. It should help voters engage more with candidates

Free transit on election day

A voter information brochure will have your free transit ticket included in the package. The city will be tracking these tickets to see how they were used. So, although transit won’t be free for all, if you’re voting, you can take advantage of this.

Expanding Advance Vote locations

This election the advance vote locations will come to all of the city’s major post-secondary campuses.

“I voted” sticker

A sticker to show you participated, you care, and something Woolley said could help get people engaged on social media about voting.

More Advance Vote Bus stops

The bus will now also stop by the Drop In Centre, and other locations so that people with accessibility issues can easily cast their ballots

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