With less than three months until municipal elections in the territory, City of Whitehorse staff are preparing for the vote in the territory’s capital.
At Whitehorse city council’s July 19 meeting, Norma Felker, the returning officer for Whitehorse, brought forward a bylaw to formally end the board of revision requirement for the Oct. 21 vote.
The board of revision has been responsible for cross-checking applications for voters to be added or removed from the list of electors in the city.
As Felker explained: “A board of revision will be redundant and unnecessary given the modern approach being taken for the 2021 municipal election along with information and support being provided by Elections Yukon.”
Essentially, the city’s list of voters for the 2021 election is coming from Elections Yukon’s permanent registry. As Felker described, the work to prepare the list of electors for the board of revision is “time consuming, and since each member requires a paper copy of the list, the volume of paper is enormous.”
Voter information coming to the city from the territory was updated from the April 12 territorial election and is specific to the criteria for the municipal vote (including having been a resident of the city for a year among others), Felker said.
She added voters not on the list will also have an opportunity to register online or in-person.
A system will be set up on the city’s website, and available at a kiosk inside the Canada Games Centre, in early September, so potential voters can check to see that they’re registered, update their information, and/or register to vote.
“Any eligible elector not included in the voter information used at the polls will still be eligible to register at the poll,” she said in her report to council. “A communications plan will promote voter awareness and encourage electors to check the list.”
Council will vote July 26 whether to move forward with the bylaw.
Under regulations, city resources are not to be used for supporting political campaigns. Information and briefing materials for council will relate only to routine business, Donnithorne said.
Incumbent candidates can relay information that is already public, however, they may not use city material while campaigning.
City swag, such as masks and jackets, should also not be worn on the campaign trail, Donnithorne noted.
She advised counsellors to err on the side of caution and direct any ethical questions to the returning officer or acting city manager.
Three prospective candidates have stated their intentions to run for Whitehorse mayor in October. They include long-time resident Patti Balsillie as well as current city councillors Laura Cabott and Samson Hartland.
Melissa Murray has been the only prospective candidate to declare plans to run for one of the six councillor positions in Whitehorse.
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