Community elects new leadership

Voters will be making their top picks for town and county candidates Oct. 21 and for the first time in nine years residents will choose

Voters will be making their top picks for town and county candidates Oct. 21 and for the first time in nine years residents will choose a mayor.

As advanced voters have already put their choice candidates in for municipal office, the majority will be casting their vote Oct. 21. Voting booths will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Brad Watson, returning officer for the Town of Ponoka says there are some rules voters and candidates must follow when voting.

Regarding limitations for candidates, they are restricted as to where they campaign. “I’ve said, ‘Why stand on the curb and push the limit?’ I’ve said, ‘One block folks,’” said Watson.

For voters Watson advises being prepared: identification must show the civic address for a resident and not a P.O. Box number. For those who are renting, a landlord can provide an attestation stating they are a resident.

No electronic devices are allowed while voting “Please, cellphones off, not even on vibrate. You must not bring your cellphone out when in the voting booth,” says Watson. “That’s the law.”

Most mobile phones are equipped with cameras and taking a picture of the ballot is not allowed. The Local Authorities Election Act states that no person shall print or distribute or cause to be printed or distributed in any advertisement, handbill, placard, poster, a form of ballot printed by the returning officer, indicating or showing it to be marked for any candidate or candidates.

“The act says there can’t be anything that identifies the voter,” added Watson.

Of the 5,100 eligible voters in the last election, 1,581 voted in the Town of Ponoka. Ponoka’s voting system is computerized and voters will be given an opportunity to select six candidates and one mayor. A person must be at least 18-years-old, a Canadian citizen, have lived in Alberta for six months and has a residence in town.

At Ponoka County, there was competition for council seats in divisions 2, 3 and 4 in the last election, and this year division 1 will see a race as well. Nancy Hartford is acclaimed in division 5. Since the county is using ballots rather than a computer to tally votes, returning officer Charlie Cutforth advises voters put a clear mark on their candidate of choice. “As long as it’s a clear indication of that person’s intent who they want to vote for,” the vote would be valid, according to Cutforth.

Any other comments or names will spoil the ballot, he added.

Voters in Ponoka County can go to county offices for division 1, 2 and 3 or Asker Church for division 1 and Crestomere School for division 3. Division 1 voters can travel to the Bluffton Community Centre or the Rimbey Community Centre.

Ballots in 2010:

• Division 2: 486 including 51 advanced votes.

• Division 3: 623 including 29 advanced votes.

• Division 4: 281 including six advanced votes.

Cutforth will have the unofficial votes ready shortly after election closes. As the Town of Ponoka’s system is computerized, Watson expects to have information after voting closes.