Voting day for the City of Victoria municipal byelection is April 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

City of Victoria considers changes to upcoming byelection due to COVID-19

One candidate calls for mail-in voting due to coronavirus

The City of Victoria is looking at alternative options for the upcoming byelection in light of recent recommendations from the provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Wednesday that the first case of COVID-19 had been found on the Island, and recommended that people practise “social distancing” for the time being, meaning avoiding crowds and close proximity to others.

This has prompted at least one byelection candidate to call on the City of Victoria to switch to mail-in ballots due to the risk of coronavirus.

Jeremy Caradonna sent out a request to the City to transition away from in-person voting stations.

“Due to the number of new COVID-19 cases in B.C., I strongly believe that we need to move the April 4 city council byelection to a mail-in ballot system,” Caradonna said in an emailed statement.

ALSO READ: Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

“The City already has a mail-in ballot system in place for those who are out of town and still wish to vote. I am asking for that system to be expanded to all of Victoria. I feel that unless we take precautions, the health of residents will be at stake.”

Caradonna argued that if voting stations are kept open at their proposed locations around Victoria, turnout will be affected, and consequently so will the election’s credibility.

ALSO READ: Victoria byelection scheduled for April 4

The City of Victoria’s clerk, Chris Coates, addressed the issue in a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, saying that the city is now in discussion with the province about potential changes or postponements.

“This is certainly an unprecedented situation,” he said. “Our staff are actively entertaining discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing who have more authority of a seldom – if ever used – act.”

Presently two other byelections are scheduled in April across B.C., though Victoria is the largest city to host one.

“This is relatively uncharted territory, and declaration of pandemic is really recent,” Coates said. “We’re going to continue forward and come back with information in as timely a matter as possible.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

byelection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

Bag containing meat, sewing needles found by dog owner in Cordova Bay

Saanich police don’t believe it’s a trend

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Colwood Spring Clean-Up postponed, branch drop-off continues

Strict measures in place for branch drop-off

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read