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ELECTIONS ONTARIO INTRODUCES NEW RESOURCES TO VOTERS FOR JUNE ELECTION

‘THAT’S REALLY OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR ALL ONTARIANS’

Courtesy of Barrie 360, Will Konken, Apr 10th, 2022

The 2022 Ontario general election is set for June, and this year there will be some new resources available to voters, including an app. 

Greg Essensa, Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer, says the process to analyze and prep for an election begins immediately after the previous one. “We analyze everything from the last election, we do surveys, we meet with a bunch of different stakeholders,” Essensa told Barrie 360.

“For 2022, we actually completed that footprint at the end of 2019. And then, of course, COVID hit in March and we’ve had to essentially reassess every aspect of the election in building different parameters, different contingency plans, as we get ready for this June.” 

Essensa says they’ve seen a significant increase in vote-by-mail country-wide, and so, officials have made it simple for voters to fill out an application online, provide identification, and get their vote-by-mail kit quickly.  

“It’s really seamless,” said Essensa. “It’s easy to get access, and that’s really our goal is to make it as easy as possible for all Ontarians.” 

Also new to this year’s election is 10 days of advanced voting as opposed to the previous, which only had five. The chief electoral officer said this is an important aspect they’ve added, as the ridings are large and spread out in Central Ontario. 

Essensa says this allows the local returning officer to have a poll in a location for four or five days and still have time to move to another location and continue polling. 

“What it actually affords is the voters more opportunity to have locations and advanced poll options available to them,” said Essensa. “We’re hoping that allows Ontarians to come and vote early, and help flatten that curve on election day, from a turnout perspective.” 

As well, there are multiple forms of voting technology for individuals with disabilities, including sip-and-puff, paddles, and capacity for those who are blind or have visual impairments.     

Elections Ontario also recently launched its own app.  

Essensa says the app allows Ontarians to receive information on candidates and voting locations (by a virtual map display). It will also hold an electronic voter card, and asks the user how they would like to receive notifications (SMS Text, email, or both).  

The app is currently available on the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Essensa says the app is a pilot for the 2022 election, and Elections Ontario is wanting lots of feedback on it. 

The chief electoral officer also noted that Elections Ontario hires in excess of 55,000 Ontarians to help with elections.  

Visit Elections.on.ca for more information about the app, polling, confirmation of address for the voter card, and election job opportunities.    

Patricia Dent
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