Baie-d’Urfé mayor says electing councillors by district could avoid ballot-counting delays

Maria Tutino has been reelected mayor of Baie d'Urfé, in Montreal's West Island, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.
Maria Tutino was reelected mayor of Baie d'Urfé, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Billy Shields/Global News

The re-elected mayor of Baie-d’Urfé, Maria Tutino, says revamping the way councillors are elected could prevent ballot-counting delays.

Sunday night, the town was left waiting longer than others for results in the 2017 municipal elections.

READ MORE: Baie-d’Urfé results in Montreal 2017 elections

Baie-d’Urfé was the last town on the island of Montreal to release results.

Tutino said slow tallying is common in Baie-d’Urfé because voters select seven names on a 20-candidate ballot.

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One of those votes is for mayor and six are for councillors.

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Tutino is suggesting that candidates run to represent specific districts.

Residents would then vote for two positions: the councillor for their district and the mayor.

READ MORE: Live results across Greater Montreal

Tutino said this could provide more comprehensive communication between residents and the government as residents would have a primary contact for issues in their neighbourhood.

Currently, residents often go straight to the mayor with their concerns.

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Districts would be divided by geography, rather than demographically.

However, drawing equal districts could prove to be a challenge when considering commercial and industrial areas.

“Everyone should get a piece of [the industrial district],” remarked Tutino.

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The mayor admitted a district-divided Baie-d’Urfé could still face challenges.

Councillors who only need to cater to their district could potentially alienate residents in other parts of the town, she said.

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Such a system may also encourage councillors to pay less attention to the concerns of residents that might not affect a majority vote.

READ MORE: Your guide to voting in Montreal’s 2017 municipal election

She said this isn’t the first time Baie-d’Urfé has considered dividing the town into districts, but did not confirm if she will address the election process in her coming term.

Luca Caruso-Moro is a journalism student from Concordia University who gathered election data for Global News in Baie-d’Urfé.