Red Deer voters will be choosing the next mayor and eight councillors, as well as either public or Catholic school trustees on Oct. 18. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer voters will be choosing the next mayor and eight councillors, as well as either public or Catholic school trustees on Oct. 18. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer voters can one of eight voting stations on Election Day

The rules are changing to increase accessibility while improving safety

Red Deerians can cast their ballots at any polling station that’s convenient for the 2021 Election.

Changes are being made so that voters will be able to vote at any station across the city — both during Advanced Vote days and on Election Day in the 2021 Election, states a release from the City of Red Deer.

The city is altering its election format in 2021 to increase accessibility and convenience, and to ensure that voting stations are safe for voters, staff and the general public, regardless of the state of the pandemic.

Rather than channelling people to dedicated neighbourhood voting stations, voters will be able to vote at any one of eight voting stations on Election Day, or one of three voting stations on any one of 13 Advanced Vote days.

Red Deer voters will be choosing the next mayor and eight councillors, as well as either public or Catholic school trustees on Oct. 18.

“Our Election planning typically starts about 18 months ahead of the Election, and at that time we were in the midst of the pandemic,” said Returning Officer Samantha Rodwell.

“Recognizing the changing public health restrictions and the need to ensure space for physical distancing, we knew our traditional voting stations in smaller centres would not be feasible.”

Advanced Voting will be open for 13 days from Oct. 4 to 16. On those days, voters can attend any one of three voting stations from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

l Parkland Mall: 6359 50 Ave.

l Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer: 4311 49 Ave.

l Westerner Park: 4847A 19 St.

In addition, voters can choose to attend any one of eight voting stations open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day:

l Northside Community Centre (YMCA): 6391 76 St.

lRadisson Hotel Red Deer: 6500 67 St.

l Parkland Mall: 6359 50 Ave.

l Joseph High School: 110, 2700 67 St.

l Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer: 4311 49 Ave.

l Cambridge Red Deer Hotel & Conference Centre: 3310 50 Ave.

l Collicutt Centre: 3031 30 Ave.

l Westerner Park: 4847A 19 St.

Rodwell said, “Voters will have 39 opportunities to participate in the Advanced Vote and eight opportunities to vote on Election Day.

“With voting stations being held at larger centres, and the increased number of opportunities, we are not only confident voters and staff will feel safe and secure, but we are also hopeful we will see an increase in voter turnout.”

Enhanced measures will be in place to ensure safety of voters and staff: voting stations will have dedicated entrances and exits, enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures will be in place, and stations will be laid out to allow for proper physical distancing.

Any potential masking requirements will be determined based upon public health guidelines and local bylaws in place at the time of the election.

“In addition to allowing voters to vote at any station, we’re also providing more information … so they can make an informed decision,” said Rodwell.

Enhanced candidate profiles are already available on the elections.reddeer.ca website, with links to their personal platforms.

“Come Advanced Vote and Election days, we will also have a map with real-time updates about wait times at voting stations so voters can decide which station will work best for them.”

Nominations opened on Jan. 1 and, as of June 15, 23 candidates have submitted their nomination papers. The city will continue to accept nomination forms until Sept. 20 at noon.

The City of Red Deer and the City of Lethbridge are amending their election operations in 2021 to allow eligible voters to select their voting station and allow for enhanced safety measures during the pandemic.

Information about Red Deer’s 2021 Election, including a voting station map, a list of current candidates and their submitted profiles, is available at elections.reddeer.ca.

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