2022 City Election


vote key

 - by Jon Farmer

Owen Sound residents will vote between October 14 and 24th to elect a mayor, deputy-mayor, and seven councillors. Municipal elections are opportunities to think about the present and future of our city and for the community to articulate a vision for that future.

Candidates will share their own vision on door steps, at all candidates meetings, and on the campaign trail. Residents will share their visions with candidates at the door, through questions at debates, and ultimately by voting. Unfortunately, not everyone who is eligible will vote.

You are eligible to vote in the 2022 Municipal Election if you are a resident, owner or tenant, or the spouse of an owner or tenant of land in the City of Owen Sound and are also a Canadian citizen 18 years or older.

In Owen Sound, all voting for this municipal election will take place online and by phone. Registered voters will receive a voting information letter in October that includes instructions and a personal identification number. If you don’t get that number, you can’t vote. Some residents assume that because they voted in the provincial election in June that they will already be registered for the municipal election but this is not true.

The first step to voting is making sure that you are on the voting list. Residents can go to VoterLookUp.ca to make sure they’re on the list but that portal is only open until August 31. By the time kids are back in school, eligible voters will need to attend City Hall in person to register. If you don’t make sure you’re registered now, it becomes more difficult to have your voice heard in this election.

Having a say in the future of our community is important. Each of us has an opinion on how Owen Sound is doing and there are different ways to measure the vibrancy and health of our city. Community engagement is one metric. We can measure that through public involvement with City Hall and voter turnout is a prime vital sign. The bad news is that voter turnout dropped in 2018.

Owen Sound’s voter turnout in 2014 was 52%. When the City transitioned to electronic and phone voting in 2018 voter turnout fell to 43.9 percent with only 6,760 of eligible voters casting a virtual ballot. We can do better.

The City Clerk’s office has set up the website, prepared materials, and taken out ads to promote registration.  The strongest promotional tool is always word of mouth, and that's where we can help. The City has set the table for the election but it’s up to all of us to get the community to that table for voting day.

Candidates will certainly be promoting voting but we can’t leave it up to them alone. We can all participate by spreading the word about the registration process and time line, asking our neighbours whether they’ve registered, and sharing the news about electronic and phone voting. Renters especially, should be reminded to register so they aren’t left out of the conversation.

Voting and voter registration might seem like a secondary issue compared to things like housing, roads, taxes, and affordability. The truth is that the quality of our conversations on all city issues are determined by the level of community participation in both the election and the committees, meetings, and discussions we’ll have during the next four years. No matter what your concerns are for voting day, make sure that voting registration is your first issue this summer and save yourself a trip to City Hall by registering at VoterLookUp.ca before August 31.

Jon Farmer is candidate for councillor in Owen Sound.



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