With byelection a month away, campaign officially begins

Twenty-eight candidates are vying for office in Vancouver’s Oct. 14 byelection — nine for the council seat vacated by Vision Vancouver’s Geoff Meggs who resigned to work for Premier John Horgan and 19 for the nine school board seats left empty after then-Liberal education minister Mike Bernier fired the previous slate of trustees in October 2016.

The City of Vancouver released byelection candidates’ names after the nomination period closed Sept. 8.

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The deadline to challenge a candidate nomination or elector organization endorsement was Sept. 12.

Candidates have until 4 p.m. Sept. 15 to withdraw their nomination or have their endorsement by the elector organization withdrawn.

Council candidates include the NPA’s Hector Bremner, Vision Vancouver’s Diego Cardona, Sensible Vancouver’s Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon, the Green Party’s Pete Fry, OneCity’s Judy Graves and independents Gary Lee, Damian J. Murphy, Jean Swanson and Joshua Wasilenkoff.

School board candidates include Vision Vancouver’s Joy Alexander, Ken Clement, Theodora Lamb, Mike Lombardi and Allan Wong, while the NPA is fielding Fraser Ballantyne, Lisa Dominato, Robert McDowell, Julian Prieto and Christopher Richardson. The Green Party’s candidates include Janet Fraser, Estrellita Gonzalez and Judy Zaichkowsky. OneCity is running two candidates, Carrie Bercic and Erica Jaaf, while COPE is running Diana Day. Jamie Lee Hamilton is on the ticket for IDEA Vancouver, while two independent candidates, Christine Arnold and Adi Pick, put their names forward.

Information about the byelection is being sent out by the city. Voters can start looking for it to arrive by mail Sept. 21, according to the city’s chief election officer, Janice MacKenzie.

It will include details such as candidates’ names, places to vote and voting dates. Candidates’ profiles will also be available on the city website Sept. 21.

Mail ballot packages will be available to voters Sept. 26, while advance voting runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at city hall on Oct. 4 and Oct. 10. General voting day is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 14.

MacKenzie said advance voting is only taking place at city hall, and no other  locations, partly because of cost. By law, the city is required to have two days of advance voting. In the 2014 regular election, there were eight advance voting locations on eight days. But each location for each day costs more than $15,000.

On the general voting day for the Oct. 14 byelection, there will be 50 voting places in Vancouver plus one in the University Endowment Lands. For a regular election, MacKenzie said the city would have 120 locations plus two in the UEL.

“Again, it’s volume and cost,” she explained.

The city’s last byelection was in 1992 when then councillor Bruce Yorke, who represented COPE, resigned for health reasons. The NPA’s Lynne Kennedy won the seat.

MacKenzie said about nine or 10 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the byelection. In the 2014 regular election, just over 43 per cent voted.

There are about 440,000 eligible voters based on the list the city received from Elections B.C.

MacKenzie said they’ll do everything they can, within reason, to get the vote out, but it’s a balance of costs.

“We’re not launching anything new for the byelection. Some of the programs that we’re working on are under development. No one can anticipate a byelection so some of the things we’re working on, they’re just not ready,” she said.

More information about the byelection can be found at vancouver.ca/byelection.

The next general election is in October 2018.


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