Editorial: Boost turnout for byelection

It’s just one seat on a nine-member council, but it’s important enough that every citizen should vote

It’s just one seat on a nine-member city council, but it’s important enough that every citizen should go vote.

The City of Nanaimo holds a byelection this Saturday (July 8) to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Wendy Pratt in the spring.

The spot on council drew 13 candidates, all vying for the chance to help lead the city for the next 15 months leading to the 2018 civic election. With so many choices, there’s bound to be someone to appeal to any voter. The candidates, taken as a whole, offer diversity as far as gender, age, backgrounds and political experience, and even more variety when we start factoring in their platforms and priorities.

One seat doesn’t necessarily shift balances or divisions at the council table, but it will adjust the mix. It will provide us with some information about the will of the people regarding our municipal leadership and what qualities voters wish to add. The mayor and the seven current council members continue to have a mandate to govern that they received from the electorate in 2014, but whoever wins this week’s byelection will have the freshest mandate and therefore an important voice at the table.

Your vote will matter. The first advance poll drew only a few hundred voters, signalling that turnout may be underwhelming. Considering that there are 13 candidates who will each attract a portion of the vote share, a large margin of victory for anyone seems unlikely. There’s every chance of a close call.

We at the News Bulletin have published a range of articles on candidates, their priorities and their views on the issues; we’ve reported on the debates and we’ve compiled candidate profiles. For those wishing to catch up, all our coverage can be found at www.nanaimobulletin.com/tag/byelection2017. Nearly all the candidates have been campaigning on social media, too, and their websites and Facebook pages can be found with a little bit of surfing.

Nanaimo and its leadership needs a nudge now and then, and this week, that nudge needs to come at the byelection ballot box.

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