The District of Mission has given an official date for the municipal by-election to determine the community’s next mayor.
The general voting day will take place on Saturday, April 24, but advance voting will commence a week prior on April 14, 17 and 18. People wishing to vote early will cast their ballots at the Mission Leisure Centre.
“We are currently working on robust safety protocols, modeled on the recent provincial election.” said Jennifer Russell, the newly appointed chief election officer for the district. “We are also requesting that the province allow mail-in ballots, and we will be adding an advanced voting opportunity and an additional location to ensure voters feel safe and comfortable throughout the process.”
The nomination period for candidates starts at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9, and closes at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 19. So far three candidates, Paul Horn, Cory Cassel, and Rhett Nicholson have announced their intentions to run.
The by-election follows the departure of Pam Alexis as mayor, after her victory in 2020’s provincial election to become MLA for the NDP in the Abbotsford-Mission Riding. Mission councillors have been alternating through the mayor’s seat since the provincial election.
If current members of council wish to run, it will require a full resignation by Feb. 17, Russell said.
The district is dedicated to delivering a safe, physically distance by-election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Feb. 3 news release.
But there is still some question over whether the district will be allowed to have expanded mail-ballot voting, councillors heard at a special council meeting on Feb. 3.
Following the meeting, Russell was authorized to submit a request to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for a Ministerial Order to facilitate expanded mail-ballot voting, mail-ballot secrecy sleeves instead of envelopes, oral declarations rather than written ones to reduce potential touch transmissions, as well as her discretion to add or remove special-voting opportunities.
If authorized, the mail-in ballots will need to be opened and counted by election officials by 8 p.m. on general-voting day, Russell said.
“If a person is concerned that the mail in the mail will not arrive at municipal Hall in time, then they must bring it to a voting place and drop it in a ballot box,” she said.
The district is still in the process of selecting locations for the general vote, and is working with the school district. Those locations will be presented to council on Feb. 16.
For further information go to mission.ca/elections, and for all campaign financing and advertising requirements go to elections.bc.ca. Information on candidates will be posted online, and will be available at municipal hall (which serves as the election headquarters), closer to election day.