Municipal Voting doesn’t have to be scary or difficult.
Let’s get rid of the confusion.
On October 22, if f you've never voted in a municipal election, it can be a little intimidating, so I decided to put together this blog post to try and cut through some of the confusion and get rid of the little things people are telling me they find intimidating about voting in municipal elections.
The only real difference between voting in a provincial or federal election and voting municipally is that you are voting for more than one person.
Election Staff at the poll will let you know exactly how to mark your ballot. On the voting ballot you will find boxes for each of the following and the option to vote for more than one candidate in some cases.
- Councillor (specific to the elector ward)
- Regional Chair
- Regional Councillor - Kitchener (vote for no more than 4)
- School Board Trustee - depending on School Support as follows:
- English Public = vote for no more than 4
- English Separate = vote for no more than 4
- French Public = vote for no more than 1
- French Separate = vote for no more than 1
Further into this post, you will find more detailed descriptions for each of these candidate categories, and what you are electing them to do for you. You'll find contact information for each candidate as well.
If you’re a Canadian citizen who is over the age of 18 and are a resident, owner or tenant of property in Ontario, you are eligible to vote in October. For more specific information about who can and cannot vote, the City of Kitchener website offers more detailed information.
- Take your VNC and one piece of personal identification showing name and qualifying address to your voting location; present them to the deputy returning officer to receive the ballot and secrecy folder. (if you have not received a VNC card, or just wondering what ID Is acceptable check here )
- Take the ballot to an available voting booth to cast your vote.
- Place an 'X' in the blank square to the right of the candidate(s) of your choice. You must use the special pen provided in the voting booth. If you make an error on your ballot, go to the managing deputy returning officer with your spoiled ballot and request a new one.
- After you vote, insert the ballot into the secrecy folder with the deputy returning officer’s initials showing, and take them to the tabulator assistant, who inserts the ballot into the tabulator. The tabulator reads the ballot and drops it into the secure ballot box.
Who you can vote for:
Here in Kitchener, we elect one mayor and 10 city councillors. All eligible voters vote for one mayoral candidate, and for a city councillor candidate for their ward. Ward 4 residents vote for one Ward 4 candidate - all other wards elect candidates from their wards.
The Mayor and Councillors are responsible for representing their constituents when making decisions that affect local policies, programs and services, while keeping the wellbeing and financial integrity of the city in mind. This involves:
- representing the public and considering the well-being and interests of the municipality;
- developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality;
- determining which services the municipality provides;
- ensuring administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council;
- ensuring the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;
- maintaining the financial integrity of the municipality.
If you are not from Ward 4, you can find all the information and contacts details for ward council candidates here.
Region of Waterloo
- Water supply
- Wastewater treatment
- Regional roads (main arterial) and traffic
- Regional Official Plan and Policies
- Rural library system
- Emergency response (Ambulance)
- Debentures (for all municipalities)
- Regional licensing and by-law enforcement (e.g. taxis, lawn-watering, tree-cutting etc.)
- Water distribution and billing (with the exception of North Dumfries and Wellesley Townships)
- Wastewater collection and billing (with the exception of North Dumfries and Wellesley Townships)
- Local streets (residential and collector)
- Zoning by-laws and Neighbourhood Plans
- City library system
- Emergency response (fire protection)
- Tax collection (for area and region)
- Local licensing and by-law enforcement (e.g. parking, noise, property standards etc.)
Responsibilities not shared
Region of Waterloo:
- Public Health (Child and family health, healthy living, sexual health, infectious diseases programs, dental health programs, population health assessment, emergency medical services and health protection)
- Community Services (Employment and income support -- Ontario Works, Children's Services, Seniors' Services, Social Planning)
- Waste Management (landfill, recycling, collection)
- Public Transit - Grand River Transit (GRT conventional and specialized)
- Region of Waterloo International Airport
- Cultural Services (Waterloo Region Museum, Joseph Schneider Haus and McDougall Cottage)
- Emergency Planning
- Community Housing
- Provincial Offences Court
- Building inspections and permits
- Cemetery management
- Vital statistics (births, deaths, marriage)
- Land severances
- Local economic development
- Parks and recreational programs
For election related information by the region, follow this link.
Waterloo Regional Council
Regional Council & Regional Chair Candidates
How do I vote for school board trustees??
If you have never voted in a municipal election, you probably don't know how to vote for a school board trustee. Don't worry.
- There ARE people at the polls that can help.
There is a wonderful how-to FAQ available here
What does a School Board Trustee Do?
School board trustees are the members of a school board. They are locally-elected representatives of the public, and they are the community’s advocate for public education. They are required to carry out their responsibilities in a manner that assists the board in fulfilling its duties under the Education Act. Among other things, a trustee’s role is to maintain a focus on student achievement, well-being and equity along with making sure decisions are in the best interest of the entire board jurisdiction and its constituents. Trustees are your contacts for education related concerns. For more information please read Making a Difference for Kids: Running for Election as a School Board Trustee - provided by elections.ontarioschooltrustees.org
In order to vote for a separate school board trustee, you must be qualified to vote and also be a Roman Catholic (which includes Greek and Ukrainian Catholics). If you are the spouse of a Roman Catholic voter, and you are not Roman Catholic, you cannot vote for a separate school board trustee, even if your children attend a separate school and/or you have directed the school portion of your taxes to the separate school board.
School Board Trustees
Looking for more information?
- My voter resources page and/or the City of Kitchener Elections Pages
Waterloo Region Votes Your Information Hub for the 2018 Municipal Election is an excellent information resource, I highly recommend it.
- Contact me directly text or call: 519-500-8302 or email me.
- For Kitchener's interactive poll map and reminder of what you'll need click here.
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