The B.C. government promised no action in a letter to an unsuccessful Chase mayoral candidate who suggested changes to election day procedures.
Beverley Iglesias, who was a candidate in the October 2018 Chase mayoral election, believes her concerns can be resolved at the local level.
In November 2018, Iglesias filed and then withdrew a legal challenge to the results of the election. In the legal papers she claimed there were irregularities with the addresses of 12 voters and that hosting the elections for Thompson Nicola Regional District director, school district trustee and the Chase municipal government at the same location caused confusion for voters.
The letter Iglesias sent to Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, repeats many of the same concerns. The letter suggests that a voters list should be mandatory for all municipal elections. The letter points out that Section 76 of the Local Government Act states that a bylaw may be established to adopt the provincial voters list as the register of resident electors.
It also requests that the existing online voter registration system be better promoted and suggests same day registration be done at a separate table from where ballots are cast.
The response from the ministry states that local governments have the primary responsibility to administer local elections in accordance with their bylaws. It also expresses a problem with using the provincial voters list as it only contains the names of resident electors when non-resident property owners are allowed to vote in municipal elections. The response states that local jurisdictions have the authority over matters such as the placement of voting tables.
“I was hoping for some effective change at the provincial level, that they would start to look at their election mandate and say we need a voters list,” Iglesias said.
Iglesias added she would like to see resources such as maps of the area where eligible electors live and lists of the streets in Chase made available at the polling station to avoid confusion over who is eligible to vote in the municipal election.
According to Iglesias, the committee she has been working with on the issue of election regulations will be appearing as a delegation at the May 14 Chase council meeting in hopes of having some of the concerns addressed at the local level.