Calgarians will be heading to the polls on Nov. 13 to make their opinions known on whether the city should host the 2026 Winter Games.
The question is simple.
“Are you for or are you against Calgary hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?”
Before the vote, the City of Calgary is holding a number of public engagement sessions to help educate citizens on what is involved in hosting the games.
WATCH: With one week left until Calgary votes on whether to proceed with a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, the city is explaining how the plebiscite process will work. Michael King reports.
Here’s a quick guide on how to cast your vote.
Who can vote?
In order to cast a vote in the Olympic plebiscite, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be a Canadian citizen;
- Be a resident in a City of Calgary ward on Nov. 13;
- Have been a resident of Alberta for the six months immediately preceding the election;
- Present valid identification (see below);
- Not already have voted in the plebiscite;
- Sign a voter registration form swearing you meet voting eligibilities.
Students from Calgary can also vote. For more information on who can vote, click here.
What identification do I need to vote?
According to the Local Authorities Election Act and the Election Act, a voter must provide one piece of authorized identification establishing the voter’s name and current address. This can include an Alberta driver’s licence or identification card, a bank or credit card statement, an income or property tax assessment notice, an insurance policy or coverage card or a statement of government benefits.
For a more complete list of eligible identification, click here.
When can I vote?
There are three ways to vote: mail-in ballot, advance voting and on voting day.
Voting day is Tuesday, Nov. 13. Voting stations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. The City of Calgary says its elections office will wait until all votes have been tabulated before releasing the results.
Calgarians must vote at their assigned voting station on Nov. 13.
Advance voting is on Tuesday, Nov. 6 and Wednesday, Nov. 7. Advance voting stations are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mail-in ballots are available from Oct. 1 to noon on Nov. 13. Mail-in ballots must be returned to the Elections & Census Office at 1103 – 55 Ave. N.E., by 4 p.m. on Nov. 13. Mail-in ballots may be requested if you are unable to vote during the advance vote or Nov. 13 for the following reasons:
- You are physically unable to get to a voting station
- You are absent from the city
- You are working on voting day as a vote worker or volunteering/working on a campaign
Where can I vote?
Regular voting stations can be found by clicking here or below:
Voting stations will also be available to patients at hospitals including the Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and South Health Campus on Nov. 13.
Advance voting stations can be found by clicking here or below:
Advance voting stations will also be located in designated care facilities on Nov. 6 and 7:
How do I get a mail-in ballot?
You can request a mail-in ballot online, by calling 403-476-4100, by faxing 403-476-4101 or by visiting the Elections & Census Office at 1103 – 55 Ave. N.E.
The deadline to return mail-in ballots is 4 p.m. on Nov. 13.
Due to a possible disruption in Canada Post service, the City of Calgary will be sending mail-in ballot packages by courier.
LISTEN: Danielle Smith talks about voting concerns surrounding the Olympic plebiscite
Can I get a mail-in ballot and then go to advance polling or voting day to cast another vote?
Not without contravening the Local Authorities Election Act and facing up to a $10,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.
“No person shall having voted once, request at the same election a ballot in the person’s own name,” says Section 148(2)(b) of the act. “No person shall make or sign a false statement for any purpose related to an election or vote held or to be held under this act.”
The City of Calgary’s Elections & Census Office records names of citizens who have been provided mail-in ballots and names will be cross-referenced at advance polling and on voting day.
“If a member of the public suspects that an individual has voted more than once, we encourage them to contact the Calgary Police Service,” Julie Ann Danka, manager of elections and census at the City of Calgary, told Global News.
What happens after I vote?
City council will take the plebiscite results and consider whether to move forward with hosting the 2026 Olympics on Nov. 19.
Under the Municipal Government Act, this plebiscite is not legally binding for Calgary City Council.
“This means that acting on the result of a vote of the electors is left to the discretion of council,” the city’s website reads.
But provincial funding for hosting the Games is contingent on a “yes” vote from Calgarians, said a letter to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi from Alberta ministers Joe Ceci and Kristy Duncan.
“While the plebiscite may be non-binding from a legal perspective, a positive vote is a requirement for the Government of Alberta’s financial support.”
If city council decides to move ahead and host the 2026 Winter Games, the Calgary Olympic Bid Corporation sets into action.
The Bidco would be scheduled to make presentations to the Association of National Olympic Committees in Tokyo on Nov. 20 and 29. Those presentations precede the meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board on Nov. 30 in Tokyo.
The deadline for the Bidco to submit their bid book to the IOC is Jan. 11, 2019.
If city council decides not to host the 2026 Olympics, the Bidco would immediately contact the IOC to withdraw the bid.
When will results be available?
Elections Calgary will be using vote tabulators for the first time, which the city said will help speed up the ballot-counting process. Unofficial results will be posted on the City of Calgary’s website on the night of Nov. 13. The city will also notify people on its Twitter account 15 minutes before the results are released.
Official results will be displayed at the Elections Calgary Office in the Municipal Building and the Calgary Vote 2018 website on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 16.
–With files from Aurelio Perri and Heide Pearson