Changes in how municipal elections are done

Campaigning could start right away

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

If you’re thinking of running for town council, here’s some breaking news: you can submit your nomination today and start campaigning!

That’s the major change in the new Elections Procedure Bylaw, approved by Slave Lake town council on Jan. 12.

How much difference it will actually make remains to be seen, but consider this: for the longest time, the window for submitting one’s nomination papers was two hours on one day, a few weeks before election date. Now? Anytime you like, starting on Jan. 1 and ending on Sept. 17. If that isn’t enough time, another nomination window opens on Sept. 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Also new in the Local Authorities Elections Act is the requirement for advance voting for municipalities with more than 5,000 residents. Accordingly, Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 are designated for the purpose.

“Hallelujah!” was councillor Joy McGregor’s response to the news. “I’m so excited to see you can start running in January! I think it’s a positive change.”

“One extreme to another,” observed councillor Brice Ferguson.

Election packages are available for prospective candidates. They can be picked up at the town office and will be available online if they aren’t already.

“It’s a good time to get started,” said mayor Tyler Warman.

Voting day for the 2021 municipal elections is Oct. 18. Council last week further prepared for it by appointing a returning officer and deputy returning officer.

Mayor Warman said in his concluding remarks at last week’s council meeting he’s very curious to see who comes forward to run.

“I’m excited to see what you guys (his current council colleagues) decide to do,” he said, implying that his own mind is not yet made up. Warman has been on council since 2010, along with councillor Darin Busk.

“It’s a huge commitment,” he said, noting that terms are now four years. He added that “nobody in rural politics does this for the paycheque.”

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