Issues raised with processes on the election day which decided the 2018 Chase mayoral race were taken to heart by the Village’s council at their Sept. 10 meeting.
In preparation for future elections, the council approved changes to the way voter registration and election signs are handled. More public engagement work to ensure residents know if they are eligible to cast a ballot or not was also promised.
Village of Chase chief administrative officer Joni Heinrich said the approval of the new regulations went smoothly. Chase will now utilize the provincial voters list maintained by Elections BC. Advantages of using the provincial voters, as listed in the Village staff report on the subject, include providing candidates with a list of electors they can use for campaigning, and that the provincial register is more likely to be up to date than a municipal register because it is informed by the Canada Revenue Agency, BC Vital Statistics and ICBC.
Heinrich said in advance of future elections, local elections officials will conduct public outreach to make sure people know if they are eligible or not to avoid some of the mix-ups which were noted following the 2018 election.
The issue of election signs was also dealt with at the Sept. 10 meeting. According to a staff report, during the 2018 election, the chief election officer received a few calls about signage “clutter.” A few signs were also found on parkland and removed. Council decided in order to avoid future clutter, the number of signs allowed will be limited to 30 for each mayoral candidate and 20 for each council candidate. In addition, Heinrich said it is council’s wish that regulations stating election signs only be placed on private property be enforced more rigorously. In the past, election signs placed on public boulevards was condoned and the regulation was not enforced. All sign regulations besides the limit on the number of signs for mayoral and council candidates also applies to provincial and federal elections.
The changes to the election bylaw come mainly in response to concerns raised by Beverley Iglesias, the third-place mayoral candidate in the Oct. 2018 election. She and a committee of concerned citizens worked to bring recommendations to Chase council. Iglesias referred to the new developments as, “Great changes to the election bylaws.”