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Whistler council discusses upping signatures required to become election candidate

Currently, only two signatures are required to get a name on the ballot
It may take a bit more effort to get a candidate’s name on the ballots this fall after Whistler officials discussed raising the minimum number of signatories required to be eligible at last week’s council meeting.

With Whistler’s fall election months away, local officials at the April 26 council meeting discussed raising the minimum number of signatories required to be considered as a candidate. 

Currently, political hopefuls only need two signatures to get their name on the ballot, the minimum required by B.C.’s Local Government Act

“There’s currently no barrier and at least from my perspective, having been through several elections now, when there’s no barriers it really dilutes the candidate pool,” said Councillor Ralph Forsyth. “If we went to something like 25 names, or something that would require a modicum of effort to get on the ballot, then that would improve the process.” 

Upping the threshold would require a bylaw amendment, and council has asked staff to come back with a report to that effect. If officials choose to go that route, they would have to raise the number of required signatures to a minimum of 10, and a maximum of 25. 

Also on Tuesday, April 26, council gave first three readings to an election bylaw amendment that follows the province’s decision to remove eligibility requirements for mail ballots in the Local Government Act. Now all eligible voters can request a vote-by-mail package for their local election. There were nearly 900 registered non-resident property electors who made use of mail-in voting last election. 

Given the impact of COVID-19, “we are anticipating a significantly larger number of mail-in ballots this time,” said Pauline Lysaght, the RMOW’s chief election officer for the upcoming election. 

Whistlerites head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 15.