Ottawa mayoral candidates make final push ahead of Monday’s election

Just hours before polling stations open across Ottawa Monday morning, mayoral frontrunners Catherine McKenney and Mark Sutcliffe are making a final push on the campaign trail. 

Sutcliffe is spending his weekend making appearances in each of the city’s 24 wards, while Catherine McKenney made appearances in Alta Vista and across Orleans on Saturday and plans to visit New Edinburgh, Kanata and Barrhaven on Sunday.

“This is a really important election and we’re going to have a new mayor for the first time in 12 years so I think it’s really important that people make their voice heard in this election campaign throughout the whole city,” Mark Sutcliffe said. 

Both candidates know just how valuable these final hours of campaigning can be. Now the focus is on ensuring they get as many of their supporters to the polls as possible. 

“It is crucial that we get people out to vote and this is why we’re out here doing this today,” Catherine McKenney said. 

Despite more than 79,000 advance votes already cast, an increase of more than 20,000 compared to the city’s last election in 2018, municipal experts say they’re not sure what level of voter turnout to expect. 

“That may translate into more people voting, but there’s no guarantee that it will. It may just be that the polls were open on a Friday and some voters said, ‘I can do it on a Friday and I don’t know where I’m going to be Monday morning,'” Chris Waddell, a Professor Emeritus at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication, said. 

Waddell says the defining influence on Monday’s results will be voter turnout, noting the city has had low turnout in the past two elections: 42 per cent in 2018, and just below 40 per cent in 2014. 

“We’ll see if it’s going to be down to the wire. One of the problems with polling in municipal campaigns is if only 40 per cent of the people turn out, you may be polling a lot of people who like one candidate or another but in the end decide they’re not going to vote,” Waddell added. 

Recent polling shows there are still a number of undecided voters, something reflected Saturday among those who met with Sutcliffe, hoping to help clarify their decision. 

“I’ve narrowed it down to two, so I’m going to be deciding in the next 24 hours,” Cathie Orfali said. 

Polls open at 10:00 a.m. on Monday but for those who cannot attend in-person, Elections Ottawa is reminding residents that voting by proxy remains an option. 

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