The City of Vancouver is getting ready for its first by-election in 25 years. Official voting happens on Saturday, Oct. 14 — before hitting the ballots, here’s what you should know.
What is a by-election?
The purpose of a by-election is to fill a representative’s seat that becomes vacant during a term of office. In this case, Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs, who has sat on council since 2008, left in July to take a position with the new provincial NDP government.
At the same time voters will also be choosing nine new school trustees, to replace the previous board dismissed over budget balancing issues. The two by-elections are being held concurrently to save costs.
The elected officials will be in office until the first Monday after Nov. 1 following the 2018 general municipal election.
Roles of city council and school board trustees
Each council member represents the city as a whole, and is governed by the Vancouver Charter. He or she may pass by-laws, buy and sell property, collect taxes, approve major government spending, take on debt, allocate funds for special activities and set up departments and offices for various services.
School District 39 trustees are independent of council, and are responsible for providing education services to 90 elementary schools, one middle school, 18 secondary schools and two adult learning centres.
Click here for a list of all the candidates and their profiles.
Those who registered in the last provincial election should already be on the voter’s list — verify at vancouver.ca/by-election — no voter information cards will be sent. Otherwise, bring two pieces of valid identification on the day of and complete a voter registration form. You must be over 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, a residence of the province for a minimum of six months and Vancouver for at least 30 days, and not be disqualified for any legal reason.
Where does voting take place?
There are 50 voting centres located throughout the city to cast your ballot on Oct. 14, all open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. People unable to attend in person can request a vote by mail package (call 3-1-1 for more information).
Advance voting is available on Oct. 10 at Vancouver City Hall (453 West 12th Ave.)