Champlain Township is just one of many municipalities calling for a change in the way that Voters Lists are prepared.
At its last meeting of 2018, the township endorsed a resolution from the Town of Kearney, which asked for “a transformational solution to the way that the Voters’ List is created and managed.”
The resolution pointed out that the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO) published a position paper in 2012 and has been advocating for changes in the way that the province creates and maintains the Voters’ List.
The list is currently generated using data from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) but despite some changes, MPAC has a limited ability to keep the list current and outdated information, along with inaccuracies, continue to exist in the Voters’ List.
Champlain Township Clerk Alison Collard said that part of the problem is that MPAC does not track tenants or boarders and added that township staff spend considerable time updating the list in the weeks leading up to an election.
Sarah Bigelow was a candidate in the most recent municipal election, and was successful in winning one of the two councillors seats in the West Hawkesbury ward.
Bigelow says that there are definitely some issues with the list.
“While campaigning door to door I found way too many houses who still had compete families on the list…even though the children had moved away and started families of their own….10+ years ago. So that’s two-plus elections past and they were still on the list. We were given forms as nominated candidates to give to electors to be added, removed or change info on the list, but they physically had to take the form to the township.”
But many residents said they would not make the effort, according to Bigelow.
She wonders why there is no way for voters to make changes to the list electronically.
“I easily handed out 125 forms, and after checking the list during the voting, only about 50 of the forms had been used to add or make changes. It’s an interesting process. I’d be very interested in seeing changes or helping the process of maintaining an accurate list,” said Bigelow.
Bigelow says that the inaccuracy means that other numbers, like voter turnout, the number of voters, the percentage of votes cast are likely all inaccurate.
Several area municipalities have endorsed the same resolution from the Town of Kearney.