Fort Frances residents who are supporters of either the local public or separate school board should expect to get their voter kits in the mail this week, if they haven’t already.
And since the format is vote-by-mail, electors can fill out and return their ballots anytime between now and 8 p.m. on Oct. 25.
But town clerk Glenn Treftlin, who also is the local returning officer for this election, noted there’s a few things voters should do before they send them in.
The first thing to do is check to see if your voter kit has everything it should in it. The kits include a ballot, a white privacy envelope, and a larger, yellow envelope which is postage paid if mailed in Canada.
There is a set of instructions included, and voters should follow them, said Treftlin.
The instructions to vote are as follows:
•Fill out the voter declaration form stating you are the person who’s supposed to be voting with that ballot.
•Fill out your ballot, put it in the white envelope, and seal it.
•Then put both the white envelope and the voter declaration into the yellow one.
•Make sure the return address to the town shows through the envelope window, then seal it and mail it.
Treftlin said people also can watch a tutorial video on voter kits which is available on the town’s website at www.fort-frances.com/election
If eligible voters do not receive their kits by the middle of next week, Treftlin said they should check the voters’ list, which is available at the Civic Centre, Memorial Sports Centre, and the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre until Oct. 25.
Treftlin said it’s possible they’re on the list, but under a different mailing address.
If a voting kit has been sent to an elector’s old address, it will be returned to the Civic Centre and that elector will be able to get it there.
Electors can contact Treftlin or assistant returning officer Lori Pattison at the Civic Centre (274-5323) to find out if their kits have been returned.
If the elector is not on the list, changes to the list can be made by filling out a form available where the lists are located. The completed form then should be brought in to the clerk’s office.
Treftlin noted each elector only can vote once. If they happen to get more than one voter kit in the mail with their name in it, send one back to the town.
As mentioned above, voters can mail in their ballots as soon as they get them. But Treftlin recommended voters do so before Oct. 16, if possible, to ensure they’re delivered to the Civic Centre in time to be counted.
Those who choose to vote after Oct. 16 instead are encouraged to fill out their voting package and then bring it to the Civic Centre during business hours.
There will be a ballot box set up and election staff working in council chambers starting Oct. 12.
Before that, there will be one set up near the information counter at the Civic Centre.
Those who do vote this way, however, still must fill out the mail-in package as if they were sending it in the post.
Like in recent elections, the town will be using an electronic voting tabulator this election, meaning the voting results should be known shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Oct. 25.
The electronic tabulator also is equipped with an audio feature to aid the visually-impaired vote in the election.
If someone is unable to fill out their ballot due to a vision impairment, they can come down to the Civic Centre and vote starting Oct. 12.
“The system will generate a paper ballot for them,” Treftlin explained. “They can complete it. It will print it out, and they will fold it up and put it in a secrecy envelope, just like they would at home.
“Then they hand it in or drop it in the ballot box that’s here at that time.
“It’s a new feature,” Treftlin added. “Before, the vote just got logged on the tape in the machine, so there was really no paper ballot.
“Now, there’s a paper ballot. It’s closer to what they would do at home if they were doing it.”
As previously reported, there will be an election for both school boards in Fort Frances.
Incumbents Dan Belluz and Terry Higgins, along with newcomer Dave Kircher, are running for the two town seats on the Rainy River District School Board.
Meanwhile, incumbents Paul Cousineau, Anne-Marie Fitzgerald, and Harold Huntley are vying for the two Fort Frances seats on the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
(The Catholic board reduced the number of Fort Frances seats from three to two earlier this year, explaining why three incumbents are running for two seats).
There will be no election for mayor and council in Fort Frances as Mayor Roy Avis and Couns. John Albanese, Andrew Hallikas, Ken Perry, Paul Ryan, Sharon Tibbs, and Rick Wiedenhoeft all were acclaimed.