Council Rejects Costly Voter Pre-registration Concept
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Rocky View County Council has voted to reject the idea of creating a voter’s list for the 2021 Municipal Election. The County will instead maintain the existing process where each voter provides identification and signs a legal voter registration form on election day.
A voter’s list would have seen Rocky View County residents register to vote by providing their personal information to the County in advance. Provincial legislation would then require the County to share that personal information with candidates for office. Under the current system, candidates are expected to know their division and residents, and do not receive any information on voters from the County.
Contrary to popular belief, a voter’s list cannot be used to prevent anyone from legally voting, whether or not their name is on the list. As such, its impact on preventing potential voter fraud is negligible. Voter’s lists also rapidly become outdated, as people move, die, reach voting age, get married, and more between the time the list is created and election day.
A voter’s list does have the benefit of speeding up the voting process in crowded polling stations, but the same results can be achieved with adequate staffing on election day.
A report to Council indicated the cost of creating a voter’s list would run between $250,000 and $300,000, with potential annual maintenance costs of over $60,000. In weighing the costs against the limited benefits, Council voted to maintain the current voting system, which is the approach prescribed under Alberta’s Local Authorities Elections Act.