When it comes to any election, there’s a lot of information to take in from who’s running, the issues, to where to cast your ballot. In an effort to help you make an informed decision on October 16, we are launching our Wood Buffalo Votes 2017 webpage, which will have all the information you need to know ahead of the municipal election.
The makeup of Wood Buffalo council could look a lot different come October. Current Mayor Melissa Blake announced in 2016 she wouldn’t be seeking re-election after holding the position since 2004. Instead, residents have a choice between four men, Allan Grandison, Anthony Needham, Don Scott and Allan Vinni.
After 19-years and six terms as councillor, Sheldon Germain announced he’s leaving municipal politics, joining councillors Tyran Ault and Collen Tatum who also aren’t seeking re-election. Ward 3 will also have a new representative since Vinni, who currently holds the seat, is running for mayor. Saprae Creek Estates and Draper residents will have to choose between Shelia Lalonde or Brad Lucier.
13 candidates will try to win one of six Ward 1 (Fort McMurray) seats, six people are battling for two Ward 2 ( Fort Chipewyan, Fort Fitzgerald, Fort MacKay) seats, while residents in Ward 4 (Anzac, Conklin, Gregoire Lake Estates, Janvier) will get two people to choose from.
Candidates vying for a spot on council had until 12 p.m. Monday, September 18 to file their nomination papers. A full list of who’s running in each Ward can be found here.
In the days following Nomination Day (Sept 18), we will be posting “Get To Know Your Candidate” web stories broken down by each Ward. We have sent each mayoral and councillor candidate a questionnaire which allows you, the voter, to get to know the candidates on a more personal level.
On September 25 from 12 -1 p.m., Mix 103.7 in partnership with the Fort McMurray Today is hosting a mayoral debate on a special hour-long edition of Fort McMurray Matters. You can listen on your radio dial at 103.7 or online at mix1037fm.com. It will also be streamed live on both outlets Facebook pages.
Each candidate will have the opportunity to present opening remarks, at which point your host, Mix 103.7’s news director Elizabeth Priest, will moderate various questions drafted by reporters from the Today and Mix News.
Leading up to and during the debate, tweet or send us your questions using the hashtag #wbvotes17. Reporters will be monitoring social media (Twitter and Facebook) and choose questions at random to ask the candidates in the final 10-minutes of the debate.
Then on October 10, the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a mayoral forum at Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts in partnership with Mix 103.7 and The Fort McMurray Today. The forum, which will be hosted and moderated by Mix 103.7’s news director Elizabeth Priest and the Today’s managing editor Olivia Condon, will provide an opportunity for the public to meet with the mayoral candidates and ask questions while learning about their campaign platforms.
Where To Vote
Advance polls in the RMWB are scheduled for October 7 – 14 from 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Residents in Ward 1 will have the first opportunity to cast their ballot at Jubilee Centre as advance polls will be open on Saturday, Oct. 7, Wednesday, Oct. 11, Thursday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 14.
Those in Ward 2 have two separate opportunities to cast their ballot early, on Wednesday, Oct. 11 and Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Fort Chipewyan Municipal Office or the Fort McKay Metis Group Community Office.
Advance polls for Ward 3 will also be open on Oct. 11 – 12 at Vista Ridge All Seasons Park.
In Ward 4, people can vote at the Anzac Community Hall on Oct. 11-12, at Nakewin Community Hall on Oct. 11 and the Janvier Municipal Office on Oct. 12.
A full list of voting locations on election day, Oct 16, can be found on the RMWB’s website.
Meanwhile, in order to vote, every person must make a statement that they’re eligible to vote and must produce one piece of government-issued identification containing their photograph, current address and name. This includes an Operator’s (Driver’s) Licence or an Alberta Identification Card.
If you don’t have government-issued photo ID, you must produce two pieces of identification. Both pieces must have your name and one piece must include your current address. A full list of acceptable forms can be found here.
If you are unable to leave your home because of a physical disability, you can contact the Returning Officer at 780.743.7001 to determine your eligibility and establish a time for an election official to come to your home on Election Day so you are able to vote.
If you can’t make it an advance poll or cast your ballot on election day, there won’t be any other opportunity to vote as the RMWB doesn’t offer special ballot opportunities. The municipality says there are a number of opportunities for voters to access advance polls and they note that voters in any Ward can vote at any polling station.
According to the RMWB, in the past, the concept of special ballot opportunities hasn’t been something for which they’ve had a lot of feedback.
Keep your dial to 103.7 on election night as we’ll bring you our live election show starting once the polls have officially closed at 8 p.m., October 16. Again, in partnership with the Fort McMurray Today, Mix News and Today reporters will be at candidate headquarters across Fort McMurray bringing you the latest updates and reactions as results come in. In studio, Mix 103.7’s news director Elizabeth Priest and the Today’s managing editor Olivia Condon will be joined by a panel of political experts, including out-going councillor Tyran Ault, who will provide insight, debrief the campaign, and discuss next council’s challenges.
To stay up-to-date with all the results and reaction leading up to and on election night, you can follow on Twitter:
Mix News – @mix1037fmnews
Fort McMurray Today – @fortmactoday
Mix News reporter Brandon Piper – @gonzoforest
Mix News reporter Jaryn Vecchio – @jarynvecchio
Today reporter Cullen Bird – @cullenbird
Today reporter Vince McDermott – @vincemcdermott
More information on the 2017 municipal election can be found on the RMWB’s website at rmwb.ca/elections.