While most Simcoe County municipalities had their election results by 9:30 p.m., or earlier, voters in Oro-Medonte were kept waiting until well past midnight to find out who would compose the next council.
A big part of why that happened is the voting method the township decided to use for its municipal election, officials say.
With both in-person and mail-in paper ballots used for their election Monday night, Oro-Medonte faced a more time-consuming process than other municipalities, said Jenny Legget, the township's communications and public relations officer. She stressed there were no technical issues encountered through the election process.
“There were no technical issues, nothing went wrong, but the reality is we had a paper ballot,” Legget told OrilliaMatters. “It just took time. It took time to get all of the results from the advanced polls, the Election Day, and then also the vote by mail.
“Paper-based elections, they are just time consuming. That’s the reality of it.”
The vote by mail was “almost like a separate election on its own,” Legget said, referring to the extra work required to count those ballots.
Once votes were submitted, they were counted by tabulators, similar to how the provincial or federal elections work, Legget explained.
“With the provincial elections and federal elections, I believe that's part of the reason why we find out (results) late in the evening – it takes time to get everything sorted out once the polls close. Paper ballots are a little more … labour intensive," she said.
“You've got to get everything back to the admin centre. All of the equipment comes back; all of the ballots that were not issued come back,” she said. “There's a whole process you go through.”
Legget recalled the 2018 election when technical problems created issues with online voting for the municipality, prompting council to move against online voting, and highlighted that each council sets the terms of its election.
“Municipal councils vote on what the format of the election is going to be like, how it's going to be done, so our current council made that decision very early into their term, and that's very normal,” Legget said.
“I suspect it'll be the same process, in that this term of council will determine early on what the voting method will be for the next election.”
Click here to read our story about who won — and lost — the election.