The City of Victoria now has the ability to move forward with planning and setting a date for the council byelection that was postponed due to COVID-19.
The byelection was originally scheduled to be held on April 4th to decide who will replace councillor Laurel Collins after she was elected Member of Parliament for Victoria in November 2019.
Victoria isn’t the only city that put democratic processes on hold for the pandemic; the mainland municipalities of Rossland and Lytton were also planning to hold byelections and Kamloops was planning an assent vote when the height of the pandemic required them to be postponed.
On Wednesday July 29, over four months after the postponement, the B.C. government has announced guidelines that will allow these municipalities to host byelections once again.
These guidelines, developed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, Elections BC, WorkSafeBC, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Local Government Management Association, highlight key things to consider when planning for a byelection.
- offering enhanced mail-ballot voting options;
- offering additional advanced voting opportunities;
- selecting and setting up a voting place for physically distant, in-person voting;
- reducing high-touch interactions for voter registration, solemn declarations and signing voting books; and
- managing curb-side voting or special voting opportunities to improve access to voting.
According to the province, local governments are in the process of working with ministry staff to confirm plans and timelines to arrange safe and accessible elections.
Victoria Buzz has reached out to the City of Victoria for comment on their plans.