By Jeff Halcrow, Spoke News
With municipal elections approaching near the end of October, it can be intimidating for students to find time to adequately prepare to vote.
On Monday, Oct. 22, municipal elections will take place across Ontario, with each city or region electing representatives for the next four years (most cities also elect their local school board at this time).
In the Region of Waterloo, voters elect a mayor and city councillors for separate districts, which are divided into wards. Waterloo is primarily made up of the Tri-Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, whose mayors and councillors also make up the Regional Council of Waterloo.
In order to vote in the upcoming election, you must be a resident in the city you wish to vote, which includes tenants or those who own property in the municipality.
If you wish to vote in the upcoming election but are not registered in the region, you may have your name added or any information corrected up to the close of voting on election day. This process can be done by a municipal clerk, who normally works from city hall, or you can have your name added to the voters’ list where you would normally vote.
For more information, visit the Association of Municipalities Ontario website.
You can also check what voter lists you are registered to at voterlookup.ca.
Interactive maps of the wards of each city can be found at the end of the article.
Each city in Waterloo Region hosts its own council and committee meetings, most of which are open to the public, where citizens can attend to educate themselves on local issues and developments. You can find a list of upcoming meetings on the calendar section of each city’s website, as well as the agenda and minutes of previous meetings.
These meetings can cover a wide range of topics, from cycling trails and public parks, to environmental concerns or economic development. The calendar page for each city also has a search function if you are interested in a specific topic.
Links to these scheduled meetings can be found below.
While many people who attend post-secondary education in the region may not continue to live here, there is a limited window of time to have your voice heard and influence the next four years of politics.
With the wealth of online resources available it’s a simple process to educate yourself on current developments in your city, and with the elections fast approaching no time is better than the present.