The City of Calgary is proposing to upgrade voter accessibility and services to get more bodies to the ballot box for the upcoming October civic election.
Less than 40 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the last election in 2013. Advocacy groups like the Calgary Democracy Project (CDP) say making it easier to access data will help to increase voter engagement.
“There is not enough information readily accessible,” said CDP spokesperson Grant Neufeld.
“Media can only do so much and we find that a lot of the smaller-name candidates that don’t get enough, if any coverage, and so people feel they don’t have enough information to make a decision.”
The package of proposed changes includes:
- Posting all candidate profiles on the Election Calgary website
- Increasing the number of advance vote locations
- Providing free public transit to voters who go to the polls
City councillor Evan Woolley supports the proposals saying the city should make the voting experience as convenient as possible.
“It’s kind of like banker’s hours — so our elections run when people are at work, taking kids to hockey and soccer, and we need to look at ways to encourage them, if those are our days, to do these things to encourage them to do it to make it easier,” he said.
The voter services package would not require any additional funding as the costs will be covered by the City Clerk’s Office operating budget.
City council will discuss the package next month.