From left to right, Lani Gibson, Terry Marleau, Edwin Empinado, Mayor Phil Germuth, Mark Zielinski, Rob Goffinet and Mario Feldhoff. (Photo from/District of Kitimat website)

From left to right, Lani Gibson, Terry Marleau, Edwin Empinado, Mayor Phil Germuth, Mark Zielinski, Rob Goffinet and Mario Feldhoff. (Photo from/District of Kitimat website)

District of Kitimat council considers changes ahead of Oct. 15 election

Special voting opportunities, what to do in the event of a tie and manual counts were discussed

District of Kitimat council is considering some election changes ahead of the Oct. 15 scheduled vote. On the agenda for the Feb. 14 council meeting there were a variety of issues that could be discussed including potentially changing the advanced voting day or not permitting mail ballot voting.

The first that received some discussion is what would happen if there was a tie after a judicial recount.

“This is going to be an extremely rare circumstance, but a four-year term and over $100,000 in pay, I don’t want this to be determined by a draw,” councillor Lani Gibson said. “If there are two candidates that have so much support in the community that they have a tie vote to me that warrants a run-off election.”

Currently, the Local Government Act allows for a municipality to determine the results of an election by lot if there is a tie vote. This means that under the current law the winner is chosen at random if there is a tie.

A motion was then put forward that the district hold a run-off election if there is a tie vote after a judicial recount. The motion was passed unanimously.

Another topic that drew some discussion was the potential changing of location for special voting opportunities.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has sparked uncertainty in many facets of life and these voting opportunities are no different. The current practice is that both the Kitimat General Hospital and Delta King Place are identified as special voting opportunities.

Staff made the suggestion that a report is brought back in May or June based on the direction that may be provided by the province or Northern Health Authority.

A motion was put forward for staff to report back regarding proposed changes to the Kitimat Municipal Code for special voting opportunities.

“This is very important, I believe the intention of this motion is not to decrease the amount of special voting opportunities, i.e., Delta King and the hospital, It is to take into consideration that it may have to change due to Covid,” councillor Rob Goffinet said.

The motion was unanimously passed following discussion.

A motion was brought forward that staff continue to use the manual vote count method. This would be the final motion relating to the election to be brought forward and it received no discussion as it has been a topic of conversation in past council meetings, this motion also passed unanimously.