Voting day for the City of Victoria municipal byelection is April 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

City of Victoria considers changes to upcoming byelection due to COVID-19

One candidate calls for mail-in voting due to coronavirus

The City of Victoria is looking at alternative options for the upcoming byelection in light of recent recommendations from the provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Wednesday that the first case of COVID-19 had been found on the Island, and recommended that people practise “social distancing” for the time being, meaning avoiding crowds and close proximity to others.

This has prompted at least one byelection candidate to call on the City of Victoria to switch to mail-in ballots due to the risk of coronavirus.

Jeremy Caradonna sent out a request to the City to transition away from in-person voting stations.

“Due to the number of new COVID-19 cases in B.C., I strongly believe that we need to move the April 4 city council byelection to a mail-in ballot system,” Caradonna said in an emailed statement.

ALSO READ: Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

“The City already has a mail-in ballot system in place for those who are out of town and still wish to vote. I am asking for that system to be expanded to all of Victoria. I feel that unless we take precautions, the health of residents will be at stake.”

Caradonna argued that if voting stations are kept open at their proposed locations around Victoria, turnout will be affected, and consequently so will the election’s credibility.

ALSO READ: Victoria byelection scheduled for April 4

The City of Victoria’s clerk, Chris Coates, addressed the issue in a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, saying that the city is now in discussion with the province about potential changes or postponements.

“This is certainly an unprecedented situation,” he said. “Our staff are actively entertaining discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing who have more authority of a seldom – if ever used – act.”

Presently two other byelections are scheduled in April across B.C., though Victoria is the largest city to host one.

“This is relatively uncharted territory, and declaration of pandemic is really recent,” Coates said. “We’re going to continue forward and come back with information in as timely a matter as possible.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

byelection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke businesses respond in time of crisis

Sooke Emergency Operations Centre met with business community to discuss impact of COVID-19

Langford expands COVID-19 response to include all of West Shore, home testing

City’s mobile team has already tested 20 people at home

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Colwood looks at reopening garbage cans as litter, dog poop pile up in parks

City staff are now being redirected from priority infrastructure to picking up litter

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read