As the City of Merritt continues to prepare themselves for a byelection to fill late Coun. Claire Newman’s position, city council unanimously approved the Election and Assent Voting Bylaw No. 2357, 2023. 

Linda Brick, director of corporate services for the City of Merritt, provided a brief explanation of the new bylaw in response to a query by Coun. Dana Egan as to what areas of the bylaw had been amended.

Brick clarified the most notable changes were the use of mail-in ballots, and counting machines.

“We are including counting machines, the City has previously owned counting machines, we’re implementing that again,” she said. “We are going to be leasing the counting machines this time because the ones that we have purchased in the past are no longer supported.”

Brick noted that by implementing mail-in ballots, there would be greater opportunity for voting for those who may not be present in Merritt during an election.

“The big major change really is around mail balloting which allows a greater participation for people who own property in the city to be able to vote if they live elsewhere, and for anyone who is going to school out of province or out of town, they’re able to vote so it just increases participation in the election.”

Citizens of Merritt may already be familiar with the vote-by-mail process, as it has been successfully implemented in both B.C. provincial elections and Canadian federal elections.

As previously reported by the Herald, residents are expected to head to polls to elect a new city councillor on April 20, according to a city staff’s report.