Even though local elections will be taking place in every municipality in B.C. in October 2022, Lytton residents will be heading to the polls on April 30, in a by-election designed to fill two vacant seats on council.
The Community Charter allows municipalities to forego a by-election if vacancies take place on or after Jan. 1 of an election year. Although both vacancies took place before Jan. 1, 2022, the Province had told the village — 90 per cent of which was destroyed by fire on June 30, 2021 — that it was not necessary to hold a by-election due to extenuating circumstances.
However, Mayor Jan Polderman said they chose to have a by-election to allow people to step up to the plate. “The more council members you have, the better.”
Since the last municipal election, in October 2018, the Village of Lytton has been no stranger to by-elections. There was a by-election for one council seat in the village on March 2, 2019, after a councillor who was elected in October 2018 resigned before the new council’s first meeting.
A second by-election was scheduled for April 2020 after another council member resigned; that by-election was one of five province-wide cancelled due to the pandemic. It took place in December 2020, by which time two council seats were vacant. A third by-election, to fill another vacant council seat, was scheduled for August 2021, but was cancelled due to the fire on June 30, leaving council with four members. That number dropped to three following another councillor resignation in December 2021.
The nomination period for the April 30 by-election for potential candidates begins on March 15 and ends on March 25. Candidate packages can be requested by emailing email@example.com. The campaign period will be from April 2 to April 30.
Mail ballots can be requested from April 4 to April 28. There will be one advance voting day: Wednesday, April 20, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Kumsheen ShchEma-meet School. General voting day, also at Kumsheen School, will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. All eligible Resident Electors and Non-Resident Property Electors can vote by mail.
Since many Village of Lytton residents have been displaced due to the fire, there are guidelines outlining who is eligible to vote. They note that a person does not stop being a resident of an area by leaving it for temporary purposes.
The village will be using Elections BC’s Provincial Voters List, which includes the name and residential address of registered voters. Residents can confirm whether or not they are on the Voters List by visiting the Elections BC website at www.elections.bc.ca or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the by-election on April 30, the two successful candidates will be councillors until the next municipal election, which takes place on Oct. 15, 2022.
Full details about the upcoming Lytton by-election can be found at https://bit.ly/3HLvPFO.