Town of Sutton supports mail-in ballots for all voters

At its last meeting on March 1, 2021, Sutton’s town council approved resolution number 2021-03-064 asking the Government of Quebec to allow all eligible people to vote by mail for the next municipal elections on November 7, 2021.

Bill 85

This request came as the provincial government is due to table Bill 85, an Act to facilitate the conduct of the November 7, 2021 municipal general election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill would grant the Chief Electoral Officer the power to authorize voting by mail for a certain part of the population, namely any voter domiciled in a private seniors’ residence or in a CHSLD, any voter unable to move for health reasons, any voter acting as a family caregiver of said person and domiciled at the same address, and any voter who has been ordered or recommended isolation due to COVID-19.

Mail-in voting in Sutton

In order to promote voter participation, Sutton’s council would like the right to vote by mail to be extended to its entire population. In part, this is because the municipality has both a large number of non-residents and a much-higher proportion of seniors than elsewhere in the province. According to the most recent data (2016) from Statistics Canada, 32.5% of the population of Sutton was over 65 years of age as compared to 22.5% in Estrie and 18% province wide.

Currently, municipalities have the sole power to authorize non-resident citizens (that is, owners of second homes, owners of business premises) to vote by mail. “I would like to suggest that Sutton’s council adopt this measure, which must then be approved by resolution before June 30, 2021,” said Town Clerk Jonathan Fortin, who, as Chairman of the upcoming elections, is already preparing for the November election.