Reaching more voters

The Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division has asked the secretary-treasurer to look into how much it would cost to add more polling stations in rural areas.

The Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division has asked the secretary-treasurer to look into how much it would cost to add more polling stations in rural areas.

In the past, some Catholic voters in rural areas had to drive into one of the towns or cities in order to vote for a trustee in their area.

Polling stations usually include municipal and local public school district elections but Catholic voters sometimes have to stop at one polling site to vote for their municipal candidates and another to vote for trustees.

As a regional division, the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division has schools in Red Deer, Olds, Innisfail, Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House, and as such the division has to have polling stations in all of those areas of the province for Catholic voters.

Rod Steeves, secretary-treasurer at the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division, told the school board this week that the division spends $50,000 on polls during an election and would have to spend $500 more for each additional poll, as well as mileage for those working it.

Diane MacKay said as a trustee for a rural area she would appreciate all of those votes because it could mean the difference between being elected or not. She said offering the extra polling stations would honour the rural people in the school division.

“This is something we struggle with, but there is an added cost with that,” said Christine Moore, chair of the board. “But we are a regional division and we need to honour all our trustees so that gives them a good chance to have a fair election campaign.”

Steeves will research the cost of adding the polls and will report his findings to the board at an upcoming meeting. At that point, the board will vote on whether to add the polling stations.

The election for new trustees, as well as city councillors and mayor, is Oct. 18.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com