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2022 city of Ottawa election costs $1.1 million less than expected

Ottawa City Hall (CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa City Hall (CTV News Ottawa)
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The 2022 city of Ottawa municipal election cost taxpayers $1.1 million less than expected, as the city spent less on measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual report by the Office of the City Clerk finds the 2022 election cost the city $8.1 million, down from the $9.2 million budget.

Staff say the city spent $3.1 million on staffing for the election, $4 million for "election events" and $502,164 for the mail-in ballot process.

The city spent $76,615 to address the COVID-19 impacts related to the pandemic, compared to the budget of $656,000.

"In consultation with Ottawa Public Health, and in accordance with COVID-19 public health guidelines in the fall of 2022, it was determined that stringent health and safety measures originally planned for were not required to administer and prepare for voting events, resulting in savings from the original estimated budget," says the report.

Other savings were found in the budget for the mail-in ballot process, since the city budgeted for 50,000 mail-in ballot requests but only distributed 10,179 special ballot voter kits from voters.

Ottawa residents elected a mayor, 24 councillors and 37 school board trustees during the municipal election on Oct. 24, 2022 and the six advance voting days. 

Mail-in ballot

Mail-in voting was offered to Ottawa residents for the first time in a full election during the 2022 municipal election. Mail-in voting was available during the Cumberland byelection in 2020.

The report says the city mailed out 10.179 special ballot voter kits for eligible electors ahead of the election.

The city's Elections Office and Client Service Centres received a total of 8,685 envelopes in advance of the deadline on Oct. 24.

Staff say 135 ballots were rejected for the following reasons:

  • 122 return envelopes did not include a voter declaration form
  • 10 voter declaration forms were not signed
  • Three return envelopes did not contain a special mail-in ballot

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