Regina civic Wards 3 and 5 could get another voting station during next civic election

There could be two more polling stations during the City of Regina's next civic election.

City councillors Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) and John Findura (Ward 5) successfully proposed amendments at Monday's executive committee meeting that would add an extra polling station to each of their wards, if approved.

Both councillors cited low voter turnout as a reason for the proposals, with Stevens noting Ward 3 has consistently had a lower turnout than the other wards in previous elections.

The last civic election in 2016 saw the lowest voter turnout in decades, as only 20.4 per cent of eligible Regina voters cast ballots.

Saskatoon, by comparison, had a 40 per cent voter turnout in its civic election that year. The city also had significantly more voting stations than Regina.

Regina voter turnout (in per cent) since 1978:

1978: 19.8 1979: 48.4 1982: 49.6 1985: 51.7 1987: 41.0 1988: 56.9 1991: 43.0 1994: 39.4 1997: 25.7 2000: 38.3 2003: 24.9 2006: 36.5 2009: 25.0 2012: 32.3 2016: 20.4

Currently, each ward has three stations where voters can cast a ballot, not including temporary and mobile voting stations.

If city council approves the amendments, there will be 32 stations total during the 2020 civic election.

Stevens introduced an amendment which would add an extra polling station for some residents of the North Central neighbourhood, south of Dewdney Avenue.

Stevens's constituents who live south of Dewdney Avenue are not able to cast a ballot in the neighbourhood and instead have to make the trek south to 15th Avenue — a trip that requires crossing Saskatchewan Drive and the train tracks running through the heart of Regina.

The success of Stevens's amendment prompted a response from Coun. Findura, who said there are a lot of seniors living independently in his area. 

So he too proposed an amendment to add an extra polling station in Windsor Park, which was supported and carried forward.

Each additional polling station would cost about $7,000, said Jim Nicol, the city clerk.

While he said an extra polling station could be fit into the election budget — $1.2 million — Nicol said there is a limit on the number of extra stations the budget can support.

"If you look at one of them, you have to look at all of them," Findura said of the wards and polling stations.