Fort Frances council chose the proper path Monday night with a pair of decisions regarding the next municipal election in 2018.
First, council opted to stick with the current “first-past-the-post” electoral system, where the candidate with the most votes wins, rather than use one in which voters are required to rank the various candidates as first choice, second choice, third choice, etc.
As noted in an editorial last month, it's difficult enough now to get people out just to mark an 'X' beside a particular name. Making the process more onerous or confusing likely would prompt many residents not to bother to vote at all.
And for those who do turn out, there likely will be an increase in the number of spoiled ballots because they didn't follow the voting instructions properly.
Council also moved to make the election process more convenient by abandoning the vote-by-mail system—used for the past several municipal elections here—in favour of allowing residents to vote by telephone or the Internet instead, which more and more municipalities across the province are adopting.
This gives voters the option to vote anytime and anywhere, which is of particular benefit for those who may be out-of-town during the election and those on shift work. Equally important, it also allows voters with a disability to utilize their existing aids to cast their ballot.
It also should alleviate some flaws inherent in the other system.
Best of all, town clerk Lisa Slomke feels the $30,000 budget set aside for the vote-by-mail system in 2014 is enough to cover the switch to telephone/Internet voting.
Council has done its part to make voting in the next municipal election as simple as possible. Hopefully, that translates into more residents being able to participate in the democratic process and have their say in the future direction of our community.
After all, every voice is important.