Here’s what you need to know about Hamilton’s upcoming municipal election
C/O Randy Kay, Unsplash
Hamiltonians, including students, will be heading to the polls again in October 2022
This year is a busy one for democracy in Ontario. After having gone to the polls in June to elect their provincial representatives, Hamiltonians will do so once again on Oct. 24 to elect the municipal government.
In Hamilton, the positions that will be decided in this upcoming election include the city’s mayor, 15 city councillors, 11 English Public School Board trustees, nine English Catholic School Board trustees, one French public school board trustee and one French Catholic School Board trustee.
Candidates were first able to file their nomination paperwork starting on May 2. They have until Aug. 19 to submit these forms, or if they choose, to withdraw their nomination.
As of July 28, the candidates for Hamilton’s mayor, included Keanin Loomis, a former chamber of commerce chief; Ejaz Butt, a former taxi union official; Bob Bratina, a former Hamilton mayor 2010 to 2014 and Andrea Horwath, who will be leaving her Hamilton Centre seat to enter the race. After having severed the city as mayor for three terms and as a city counsellor before that, current Mayor Fred Eisenberger has chosen not seek re-election.
Hamilton is composed of 15 wards and one city counsellor from each ward will be elected to represent their community’s interests on the city council. Most students reside in Ward 1. As of July 7, there were two candidates for Ward 1’s counsellor: incumbent Maureen Wilson and Ian MacPherson.
Students are eligible to vote in the upcoming election so long as they are Canadian citizens, at least 18 years of age, are residents of Hamilton — this includes if you are a tenant in the city — and are not otherwise disqualified from voting. Students who consider their home municipality — the city they may return to live in when they are not attending school — are eligible to vote in both the election in their hometown as well as the city of Hamilton’s election.
A voters’ list will be prepared for Sept. 1. In order to add, confirm or update your information, students will need to visit www.voterlookup.ca. To add your name or to make changes to the voters’ list after Sept. 1, you will need to contact the municipal clerk, who is responsible for organizing the election.
Additionally, like all voters, in order to vote on election day, students will need to show identification offering proof of their residence in Hamilton. For students living in residence, they should be able to receive a document offering proof of residence from their post-secondary institution. For students living off campus, this could include a utility bill or a transcript from their post-secondary institution.
There are a number of ways individuals can vote in Oct. Students will be able to vote by mail, at advance polls and on election day.
While the location of advanced polls are still to be announced, there will be located in each ward and they are slated to be open on Oct. 7 and 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. as well as Oct. 8 and 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On election day, there will be polls at post-secondary institutions in the city, including McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University. At these locations, the city is planning to pilot their “ballot on demand” system.
At a “ballot on demand” poll, there will be an e-poll book and printer, allowing for staff to provide voters with a ballot form in any ward — not just the ward the polling station is located in. This system allows voters to cast their ballot without having to go out of their way to a polling station Voters will still be required to show identification in order to vote.
While these are still early days for election, some issues expected to be raised include the ongoing housing crisis in the city, the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of the LRT and the urban boundary expansion. These issues and how they are decided will have important implications for students and their time in this city, making it important to be informed and participate in this election.