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Concerns over number of voters at shelter

Concerns have been raised about the number of voters registered at the Salvation Army Shelter as the registration period for the Municipal Elections nears its close.

John Harvey, former Deputy Mayor of Hamilton, who is “actively considering” running again as a candidate in the City, said he was concerned that the number of voters registered at the Marsh Lane shelter may be double the number who actually reside there.

“We were informed that there were about 80 people registered to vote at that location,” he said. “I went down there and had a chat with the supervisor, and they informed me that their residence was about 35.

“They only have 54 beds. How is that even possible? People who are registered there may never have even lived there.”

While the Parliamentary Registry was last night unable to confirm how many voters are registered at the shelter, as of May 2013 about 75 people had listed #5 Marsh Lane as their address on the official voter registry.

Mr Harvey said that he was “very concerned” that the discrepancy could impact the looming municipal election, saying: “I think someone has got to go through the list and, if someone actually lives there, that's fine, but those that do not will have to be brought to the attention of the Registrar.”

Former Mayor Charles Gosling, who has said he intends to run in the coming election, said: “We are trying to resolve this prior to the announced list as this may impact the proportion of business to resident representatives,” he said. “I think most people are aware of the Salvation Army vote in the last election. I am very surprised it has got this far this time around.”

The last municipal election took place on May 10, 2012, with a total of 203 people — less than a third of the City's registered voters — casting a ballot. Graeme Outerbridge won the position of Mayor, toppling Mr Gosling by a vote of 109 to 88 as Team Hamilton swept into power.

Mr Harvey called on residents and business owners to make sure they can cast their ballot. “I would encourage all those who live in the City to vote, and all those with businesses in the City should register,” he said. “I think they are a bit behind at the moment, but hopefully they will see the importance of having the opportunity to vote and register.”

The deadline for eligible business ratepayers and commercial City property owners is 5pm tomorrow, and no late registrations will be accepted.

Nomination day for the Municipal Elections in both Hamilton and St George's is April 16, with advanced polling taking place on April 30 and the elections on May 7.

Exempt companies and charities are not eligible to vote. Where a company or commercial property is not solely owned, a nominee must be named in a submitted letter. All registrations must be accompanied by the Corporation of Hamilton Tax Demand Note for the valuation unit owned or occupied by the registrant.

Registration forms can be obtained from the Parliamentary Registrar's office in Craig Appin House on Wesley Street or from the Corporation of Hamilton offices in City Hall. Completed forms as well as the supporting documents (the nominee letter and Corporation of Hamilton Demand Note) must be handed in to the Corporation offices.

The number of business registrations versus the number of resident registrations correlates to the number of councillors representing each group on the City Council. All nominees must be on the Parliamentary Register and eligible to vote in national elections. Residents can check registration on 293-8683. For questions, call 279-5257.

Charles Gosling. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 24, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 24, 2015 at 9:18 am)

Concerns over number of voters at shelter

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