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Wednesday , 3 March 2021

Voter ID bylaw coming to St. Paul

The Town of St. Paul is discussing a voter-ID bylaw for the upcoming municipal elections this fall.

According to Director of Planning and Legislative Services Aline Brousseau, the hope is to increase voter turnout and participation in the election by reducing concerns about having appropriate identification.

“This list of authorized ID’s is different for a municipal election than the federal or provincial election. And it is our intent to be as inclusive as possible. We would be more than happy to research and investigate any possible ID’s that did not make it on this list if it is desired,” said Brousseau.

She said the voter ID bylaw is not a requirement under the Local Authorities Elections Act, but if council chooses to proceed with it is must be passed by March 20 to be in place for the Oct. 18 election.

Coun. Gary Ward made a motion to give the bylaw first reading at the regular town council meeting Jan. 25. That motion carried.

In an interview after the meeting, Mayor Maureen Miller said the specific challenge they are trying to address with the bylaw is people like herself who receive their mail at a post office box instead of their home address.

“So my driver’s license actually has a post office box on it. So it’s not related, it’s not connected to me at this physical address. So when I go to vote, I have to come with the tax assessment,” said Miller.

She said she’s an anomaly in the town, but she’s not the only person in the community who could have difficulty voting because of it.

“So how do we make sure that those people including me can vote. So that’s the whole process [of defining] what can you bring. We’re going to educate as to how to make it easy to do so. So that we can make sure that we’re inclusive to as many people as possible to get out to vote,” said Miller.

According to the proposed list of authorized identification [see page 5 for the complete list], voters in the municipal election would have three options:

  • A government issued ID which includes your photograph, full legal name, and current street address in the Town of St. Paul.
  • Two pieces of ID with your name, one of which must also have your address. These IDs could include ID from a government agency like a band membership or Indian status card, birth certificate, or property tax notice from the Town of St. Paul, ID from a financial institution like an account statement, ID from a healthcare provider like a Canadian Blood Services card, ID from an educational institution like a student ID card, or ID from an employer, landlord, or utility company like a lease document or utility bill.
  • If you don’t have any ID, you can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and someone who is assigned to your polling station can prove their identity and vouch for you.

Town council must give the bylaw two more readings before it is passed.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.