Victoria byelection candidate calls for mail-in ballot in light of COVID-19 outbreak
VICTORIA -- A candidate in Victoria's upcoming council byelection is calling on the city to move the vote to a mail-in ballot in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Candidate Jeremy Caradonna says the April 4 byelection could put the health of residents in jeopardy unless proper precautions are taken by the city.
The City of Victoria, however, says any changes to the voting process would require the province's approval.
“We are working with officials in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to assess COVID-19 and the best approach for the city’s byelection," said Chris Coates, Victoria’s chief election officer.
"The election must be conducted in accordance with very specific rules established by the province through the Local Government Act. Any modification of that process to address the COVID-19 pandemic would require provincial approval. At this time there is no plan to postpone or cancel the by-election scheduled for April 4."
Coates said the city is continuing to "monitor this evolving and unusual situation.”
Caradonna predicted a depressed voter turnout if the byelection isn't moved to a mail-in only ballot.
"Very low turnout will undermine the credibility of this election and deprive voters of their right to democratic participation," Caradonna said in a statement.
The first all-candidates meeting is scheduled for March 18 at 6 p.m. at 1515 Douglas St., across from city hall.