June 17th, 2024

City tightening nomination rules for elected representatives

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 14, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge city council has tasked administration through the Governance Standing Policy Committee with making recommendations on a motion by councillor Nick Paladino to look at creating deposits for people who run for civic office here and increasing the required number of signatures of eligible elector signatures on nominations.

Council approved the motion unanimously Tuesday morning.

Paladino’s motion – an amendment to Bylaw 5803 – a bylaw of the City of Lethbridge to provide for municipal elections – calls for signatures to increase from five to 25 for council hopefuls and to 50 for people running for mayor.

It also recommends people running for office make deposits of $100 for those seeking council positions and $250 for those going for the mayor’s job.

Other municipalities do charge deposits with Calgary and Edmonton having a fee of $100 for council hopefuls and $500 for mayoralty candidates. Okotoks likewise requires a $500 deposit for mayoral candidates and has a fee of $250 for those running for its council.

Along with Red Deer and Medicine Hat, Lethbridge doesn’t require a financial deposit.

In his motion, Paladino pointed out that in the 2021 municipal election, there were 33 council candidates and six seeking to be elected as mayor.

The motion said such large numbers of candidates are overwhelming to electors “resulting in considerable time to review all the candidates’ information as well as a significant number of campaign signs in the community” and that those who host candidate forums find difficulty in co-ordinating and allotting proper time for the large numbers of candidates.

The Local Authorities Election Act, his motion stated, “allows municipalities with a population over 10,000 to request a deposit up to $1,000 to accompany nominations.”

In 2021, Lethbridge had 81,276 eligible electors, said the motion, adding that Alberta cities with populations of at least 10,000 may require a maximum of 100 signatures.

The motion states that if a candidate is elected, the full deposit will be refunded if a candidate obtains a “number of votes at least equal to half of the total number of votes cast for the candidate elected to the office with the least number of votes” or the candidate withdraws within 24 hours of filing.

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