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Municipal elections in Alberta are conducted according to the Local Authorities Election Act, which is provincial legislation. The Town of Black Diamond Council passes resolutions to appoint a Returning Officer, and to authorize the Returning Officer to do such things as providing advance voting, setting up an institutional vote for residents of the High Country Lodge, hiring election workers, etc. All of these activities, although authorized by Council, must be undertaken in accordance with the Local Authorities Election Act.
Beginning with the 2021 municipal elections, the province has also passed two (2) other pieces of legislation that will combine some provincial election opportunities with the municipal elections across the province.
These acts will require municipalities to hold any applicable senate election or referendum questions in their municipalities if required by the province. The province has also passed a regulation for each of these two (2) acts, to provide the municipalities with some funding to assist with extra costs incurred in undertaking these votes.
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The normal term of office is 4 (four) years for local government officials. By-elections are held when required to fill vacancies on a Council in between general municipal elections. Visit the Municipal Election webpage for more details.
In order to be eligible to vote in a municipal election, you must:
Your residence is the place where you live and sleep, and to which you will return after an absence. For the purposes of voting, you can only have one residence. Students that attend educational institutions within or outside of Alberta, but have family members resident in Alberta and the student resides with that family when not attending the educational institution, are deemed to reside with those family members (they are resident there, not at their educational institution or dorm).
Every person who wishes to vote must make a statement (on the prescribed form) at the voting station, in the presence of an officer at the voting station, that validates their residence in the municipality.
Voters must produce one (1) of the following:
A voter who cannot produce ID to validate their identity or their residence may have an eligible elector vouch for them, in accordance with section 53(4)-(8) of the Local Authorities Election Act.
The Returning Officer will (prior to advance voting dates) publish on the Town's website, a list of ID that is acceptable if the voter does not have any photo ID issued by a Canadian government.
The Returning Officer is aware that most photo ID for residents of Black Diamond (i.e. a Driver's License) will provide a PO Box #, rather than a street address. This is an acceptable form of identification if the PO Box is located in Black Diamond or Turner Valley. However, PO Boxes from other municipalities, or rural route addresses, will not be acceptable proof of residence, and voters should be prepared to provide one of the other forms of ID from the list.
The most common mistake voters make is not understanding how many people they can vote for. Voting instructions are placed inside each voting compartment. Each ballot that a voter takes must indicate the number of people that can be voted for. Here are some helpful reminders:
In Black Diamond, the Mayor is elected, not chosen by the Council. You may vote for 1 mayoral candidate.
Black Diamond Council has 6 Councillor seats. Voters may choose up to 6 candidates (less than 6 is OK, more than 6 will cause your ballot to be rejected).
A School Division Trustee ballot - voters can choose 1 candidate.
Senate ballots may vary, and are produced by the province. Voters will need to pay close attention to those ballots and the instructions posted inside the voting compartment.
Referendum ballots may contain multiple questions and voters may answer each question provided on that ballot. These ballots are also produced by the province.
The Town of Black Diamond always provides at least one (1) advance voting opportunity, usually two (2). Be sure to visit the Municipal Elections webpages to know when you will be able to cast your ballots.
For the 2021 election, the Returning Officer is currently planning for more than the usual number of advance voting opportunities. This is being done to help ensure physical distancing and to eliminate lineups and gathering at the voting stations. The final dates, times and locations for advance voting will be released at least 2 weeks prior to the first advance voting day.
Processes in place in voting stations will be in compliance with public health restrictions and recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Alberta Health Services.
Here in Black Diamond, we count our ballots by hand, and that process can take several hours. We ask our candidates, the media and the community to be patient while we count all those ballots - every one of them is important. If it's taking us a long time, it means voters have done a great job of showing up to vote!
Depending on voter turnout, and assuming that no recounts are required on election night, results are usually available quite late in the evening. Between 10:00 pm and 12 Midnight is the "normal" count completion time. The Returning Officer will release the unofficial election results, using the Town's website and social media platforms, as soon as all ballot counts have been completed.
Election results become official at noon on the fourth day after the election.