The 2022 BC General Local elections are just 60 days away, and will see Merrittonians elect a Mayor and Council to represent them for a four year term in the council chambers. The City of Merritt has released its nomination package to become a registered candidate for office, and is encouraging eligible Merrittonians to put their name forward.
The Local Government Act, a piece of provincial legislation, sets out the parameters for municipal elections across B.C. Municipalities themselves administer the election process, and Director of Corporate Services Greg Lowis is taking on the role of Chief Election Officer in this fall’s race.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing more important to local democracy than people putting themselves forward to serve as community leaders,” said Lowis.
“We have general elections for municipalities every four years in British Columbia, and this is the process by which Merrittonians decide who they want speaking for them, and what direction the City should be going in.”
Lowis added that nomination packages are available, online and at City Hall, for those interested in running for office. The process for getting on the ballot is outlined in the package, and includes a statement of financial disclosure, appointment of campaign representatives, and gathering the support of local electors.
The City’s last election was in 2018, and saw less than half of eligible voters cast their ballot. An eligible voter is anyone who is a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, and has lived in B.C. for at least six months prior to voting. No voter registration is required for local municipal elections. The City said that eligible residents are urged to not only vote, but consider putting their name forward for office.
“The Mayor and six people elected to council serve an absolutely vital role in making sure our community is moving in the direction that Merrittonians want it to move in,” added Lowis.
Updates on nomination dates, campaigning rules, and planned candidate information sessions will be posted at City Hall, and on the City’s website and social channels. As of August 16, three individuals have publicly declared their intention to run for Mayor, and two for councillor. Information on officially registered candidates will be available at City Hall following August 30, the first day completed nomination packages can be accepted under the Local Government Act.
While some Merrittonians may not be eligible to vote as they are under 18 or haven’t resided in B.C. long enough to qualify, they are still encouraged to participate in the election process. While casting a ballot may not be an option, the City says there are many ways to engage.
“They can still be part of the conversation, they can still find ways to engage with and support the candidates that they believe in, they just wouldn’t be able to cast an actual ballot. We will be checking eligibility as part of the process on voting day,” said Lowis.
General voting day is set for October 15, 2022. The City is required to hold at least one advance voting day, but plans to have two. Dates and times will be announced via the City website. For more information on the nomination process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call City hall at 250-378-4224.