A link from one website to another is so commonplace, it’s not a big deal. So you might expect you could go to the official list of candidates in your municipality and inform yourself using a link to the candidates’ websites.
In some parts of Ontario you can but not anywhere in Waterloo Region.
The local municipalities have all decided they won’t provide links to candidate’s websites on their websites. Again. After receiving negative feedback about it in 2010. They do provide e-mail, phone number and home address.
I’ve been told hat’s what municipalities have been advised by the interpretation of the municipal elections act shared by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. An overly conservative interpretation in my opinion. And one not unanimously followed by all municipalities in Ontario such as the City of Hamilton. But I understand that all local municipalities are following it.
Candidate’s websites play a crucial role in informing and engaging voters. At the municipal level, voter turnout is extremely low even when compared to provincial and federal elections.
Why is the Ministry of Municipal Affairs advising municipalities against providing links to candidate websites? Shouldn’t the Minister instruct the Ministry to advise all municipalities its ok to provide these links? And soon enough to be useful in the current municipal elections.
Links may not be a big deal but they are an easy win to help engage municipal voters. Let’s have the same rules apply across Ontario. Contact your MPP and ask them to help make this happen–this year!
I’m not writing this post out of self-interest. I had the same concern in 2010 when my name wasn’t on a ballot. It comes from my interest in engaging citizens in their communities and assisting them to vote with the necessary information. I found in the last municipal election that it was difficult for me to find candidate websites. Makes sense that the master list of candidates on city websites would have that information. I’d much rather have people find out about me from my website than coming to my home which they can more easily do.
Voters in Ward 10 will know how to find me no matter what but I’m keen on this change as part of my ongoing effort to better engage citizens in decision-making. And that’s why to the best of my knowledge, I have the only complete list of city and regional candidates in Kitchener WITH links to their websites.