Close to 11,600 voters participated in advance polls for Hamilton’s municipal election on the weekend, according to the city’s clerk.
Andrea Holland characterized the turnout as a “healthy response” at the 15 designated polling sites across the same number of wards on Friday and Saturday.
It now leaves three voting dates for Hamiltonians through an advance poll on October 14th and 15th and election day on October 24th.
Over 3,500 people have registered in Hamilton’s first vote by mail allowing residents up until October 24th to return packages.
Staff are recommending voters send it by Oct 13 to ensure it reaches City Hall by the 24th.
“Anybody who’s registered to vote by mail may get their package and change their mind, can absolutely still come to the poll and vote (on election day.)” said Holland.
“What we’ll do is … cancel the package and they can vote at the poll.”
Eligible voters are receiving voter information cards in the mail this week, according to the city.
There have been some reports of duplicate cards arriving for a number of voters due to mid-stream property moves or misspellings of names.
Holland says that “generally happens” every election and is the result of someone being left on an outdated elections list from Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
“If you have an extra card, bring it with you and what we’ll do is … amend the list for you at the voting station,” Holland said.
“You absolutely do not need a card to vote. Any eligible elector in Hamilton can vote at the poll. If you didn’t receive a card, you can go to our website at hamilton.ca”
The city will have 157 polling stations staffed by about 1,700 people across all 15 wards on election day.
Ninety-one individuals have signed on in the hope of becoming a voice in council, including nine mayoral hopefuls looking to succeed Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Of the over 400 municipal elections in the province on Oct. 24, more than half — 217 — have decided to use online or phone voting as well.
That’s up from 175 municipalities four years ago, according to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
Hamilton is not one of those cities, according to Holland who says the pandemic and more study on an action from the federal government improving general internet accessibility as the reasons for delaying online potentially 2026.
“It is something we will be studying and bringing forward to for council … to deliberate on for the 2026 election,” Holland said.
“We have been putting money aside for that to help pay for that at this time.”
— With Files from the Canadian Press