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Calgary council approves mail-in ballots for Olympic plebiscite

The City of Calgary has approved the use of mail-in ballots for the Olympic plebiscite.
The City of Calgary has approved the use of mail-in ballots for the Olympic plebiscite. The Associated Press

Calgary City Council has approved the use of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 13 Olympic plebiscite.

City returning officer Laura Kennedy said starting Oct. 1, voters can apply online to get a mail-in ballot or they can call the elections office.

However, people still need to have a reason to request the mail-in ballot and must meet one of three criteria.

“Being absent from the jurisdiction on vote day or the advance vote, physical incapacity — you’re unable to get to a traditional voting station, or you’re an election worker.”

READ MORE: City of Calgary to hire 3,000 employees for Olympic plebiscite

Some members of council were concerned about what precautions are being put in place to prevent someone from tampering with the mail-in ballot. Kennedy assured councillors technological advances should be effective, adding that a copy of a person’s identification, with their address, is required when they send their ballot.

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Officials have also taken measures to deal with the threat of a strike at Canada Post.

“There are courier services we have retained and they are actually making themselves available to deliver the packages within 48 hours during business hours,” Kennedy said.

City council was told one million ballots have been printed for the Olympic plebiscite, 100,000 more than for last fall’s municipal election where there were complaints of polling stations running out of ballots.

Kennedy said seven offices are being set up where ballots can be distributed from if there is a shortage.

“We’ve paired two wards and we’ve tried to find a central location, or on a main arterial at least, so that they can get there quickly.”

She also said the use of electronic tabulators, which council approved in June, will speed up the count and make results known by 10 p.m.