The City of Campbell River has received its official ministerial order from the province to hold a municipal by-election to replace Michele Babchuk in city council chambers. Babchuk resigned from her role on city council after being elected as the region’s MLA last fall.
The by-election is scheduled for Feb. 27 and the city has assigned Elle Brovold as its chief election officer, who then asked for a Ministerial Order allowing exceptions to the city’s voting bylaws, as well as the Local Government Act in order for the election to be COVID-19 safe. This Ministerial Order was officially received by city council Jan. 11.
Some of these changes involve the ability to accept “curbside votes” at the polling station, oral declarations to obtain your ballot to reduce touch points and reduce physical contact, as well as expand the city’s mail-in ballot offerings to anyone who wishes to cast a ballot by that means. Under Section 110 of the Local Government Act, that option is only available to those who would not be present on the day of the election or persons with disabilities that prevent them from voting in person, but that section has been suspended under the Ministerial Order, so anyone who wants to can choose to vote that way if they prefer.
Nominations now open
Nomination packages were made available by the city mid-December and can now be submitted. The nomination period began Jan. 12 and closes at 4 p.m. on Jan. 22. The candidates will then be announced, at which time there is a four day period for the public to challenge any of those nominations – if they feel the candidate is ineligible for public office, for example.
There are currently four advance voting poll days scheduled: three at the Community Centre downtown and one at the Sportsplex in Willow Point. The Sportsplex advance voting poll will be Feb. 17 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the Community Centre Polls are the same times on Feb. 24 but from noon to 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 and 26.
The election day polling will then be done at the Sportsplex on Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Official results of the by-election will be announced at noon on Wednesday, March 3.
Anyone interested in voting by mail is asked to request a ballot by Feb. 5. You can do so on the city’s website, www.campbellriver.ca
City needs elections officials
The city has issued a call for elections officials and are accepting applications until Jan. 20.
Interested candidates must be available to attend a mandatory training session beginning at 7 a.m. on Feb. 10. They can request – but are not guaranteed – either an eight-hour shift on Feb. 27 or a full-day shift (12 hours), and will be paid $22 per hour for their time and have access to refreshments and light meals.
The city says preference will be given to people with previous experience as municipal elections officials.
A form is available at www.campbellriver.ca within the news release entitled “City seeking election officials for 2021 local by-election.”
More information on voter eligibility, how to register to vote, and the COVID-19 safety measures being implemented can also be found at campbellriver.ca under “2021 Local By-Election.”
*** A previous version of this story incorrectly claimed electors would be able to cast their vote verbally. This is not the case. They can, however, make an oral declaration rather than signing the voters’ book.