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Will paying for stamps help boost Port Coquitlam civic voter turnout?

The City of Port Coquitlam will pay for postage for mail-in ballots for the 2026 civic election.
The new King Charles III Stamp was unveiled May 6, 2023.

Port Coquitlam is planning to remove one impediment to voter turnout for the next civic election.

The city said it will pay for postage for mail-in election ballots — at a cost of $1.94 per envelope, according to 2023 postage rates.

Voter turnout was lower than usual in Port Coquitlam in the 2022 civic election — just 18.24 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, down from 28 per cent in 2018.

And while only 70 people mailed in their ballots under new rules with expanded criteria, there were a few complaints that return envelopes did not include pre-paid postage, according to a report this week to Port Coquitlam's council in committee.

Based on the number of 2022 mail-in ballot packages sent back to the Election Office, the additional cost of including a postage paid envelope would have been $135.80, as the city would only be charged if the elector uses the envelope and is scanned by Canada Post.

"As such, staff intend to include the costs of postage paid return envelopes in future election budgets so that electors are not required to pay the postage fee," the report stated.

Other cities that pay for postage include Burnaby, Delta, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver.

Providing free election ballot postage was among the highlights of the city's report on the Oct. 15 election, which also noted that the election cost less than expected.

The total actual cost for PoCo's election was $152,122.76, which was within the $170,000 budget.

Voters' next trip to the local municipal polls is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 17, 2026, to elect a mayor, council and school trustees.

King Charles on new Canadian stamp

Stamps on those envelopes four years from now will also have a new face.

On May 6, Canada Post unveiled Canada's first definitive stamp featuring King Charles III at a ceremony in Ottawa hosted by Canadian Heritage.

This is the first time the new monarch has appeared on the Canadian stamp. His coronation took place that same day in London, England.

The stamp continues Canada Post's long-standing tradition of issuing definitive stamps depicting the Canadian sovereign that began in 1851 with a pre-Confederation stamp featuring Queen Victoria, the King's great-great-great grandmother.