Hamilton staff are recommending a communication blitz in an attempt to increase participation in next year’s municipal election. The report recommends spending an extra $100,000 on an education program aimed at improving the voters list which is currently riddled with inaccuracies, and also to remove other barriers to voter participation. Currently the voter list is developed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). But “since 2010, MPAC’s enumeration methods have changed, they are no longer conducting enumeration through mass mail out or physically attending buildings which has furthered the challenge of accuracy,” the staff report continues. One of the keys to the communications plan in Hamilton is to get voters to check the online voters list to make sure they are included.
Staff are recommending the 2022 communication plan be expanded to include more points of communication, more targeted approaches, and greater use of multimedia including videos, an enhanced web page including resources and guides, and an enhanced candidate portal. The report also recommends hiring four students to work in the summer of 2022 as “election ambassadors.”
The report notes that by the time the Municipal election rolls around in October, Hamilton residents will have undergone both a federal and a provincial election and “election fatigue” could be a real possibility, which would lower participation. The report suggests some residents may have difficulty distinguishing between the various elections they will encounter in short order. The voter turnout in the 2018 election was 38 percent.