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New Westminster candidate questions lack of voter information for residents

Voting slip putting a cross in a box. Getty Corus Radio Ptbo

Questions are being raised in New Westminster regarding an apparent lack of information about the upcoming election.

Most cities provide voter cards or booklets that are mailed out to households, letting people know voting day, where to vote and candidates.

The City of New Westminster doesn’t do that and never has.

READ MORE: Advance voting begins in some Metro Vancouver municipalities

Daniel Fontaine, who’s running for council with the New West Progressives, said when voter turnout is so low, the city should make an effort to get more people out to the polls.

“To me it’s not rocket science,” Fontaine said. “We could have invested a very small amount of money made sure every voter receives something in the mail from Canada Post around where to vote, when to vote and how to vote.”

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Fontaine is calling for change.

“It is really disappointing to see when we have low voter turnout — 28 per cent in New Westminster; extremely low — that the city is not looking at every avenue to try and increase that to levels that are perhaps similar to Vancouver which is about 45-per cent voter turnout.”

READ MORE: 2 men say they were pressured to participate in alleged Surrey voter fraud scheme

In a statement, New Westminster Chief Election Officer Jacque Killawee said the the city has been advertising the election since April 2018, and made postcards detailing relevant dates and polling station locations available at all civic facilities.

“In addition, we have engaged in outreach activity at our local farmer’s market on several occasions, which involved distributing information cards, answering questions and inquiries, and registering voters,” the statement continued. “We communicate using all our electronic platforms, which include social media, our website, and four digital signs located on major transportation routes.”

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Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections – Sep 21, 2018

“On October 4, 2018, we included a custom wrap on the outside of our local newspaper which included the names and images of all candidates along with voting location information.  The City has also included on its website a 150-word profile on each candidate.”

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Killawee said her department would need need a beefed up budget in order to do a mailout.

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