What a by-election in Nelson could look like

A sign of the Nelson City Hall
Nelson councillor Keith Page shares insight to how the Castlegar mayor's resignation could impact local politics. Photo by Keili Bartlett.
Keili Bartlett - CJLY - KootenayBC | 06-11-2020
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Election season in Nelson may not be over yet. As Elections BC gets ready to count the mail-in and absentee ballots on Nov. 6, the City of Nelson may be looking at a by-election. 

As of Nov. 5, Elections BC estimated 3,498 mail-in and absentee ballots from the Nelson-Creston riding. As of Nov. 4, NDP Brittny Anderson is in the lead with 5,377 votes. Second-up is the Green Party’s Nicole Charlwood with 4,443 votes. Still in the race with 3,338 votes is Liberal candidate Tanya Finley.

The provisional winner for the Nelson-Creston riding is NDP candidate Brittny Anderson, who is also a council member for the City of Nelson. Her team told KCR that if her win is confirmed, Anderson plans to resign from her position on council. This would trigger a by-election. 

But legislation doesn’t require Anderson to step aside. She could, in theory, hold both posts at the same time, Nelson’s corporate officer Sarah Winton said.

First, the councillor who is giving up their seat has to formally resign in writing, by either contacting the corporate officer — Winton — or the council itself. 

Council then appoints a chief elections officer. Then the countdown begins: after the appointment, a by-election must be held within 80 days. 

Tentatively, a by-election could be held in January, February or even early March. This would be because the process needs to provide notice of the nomination period for new candidates. Potential candidates then have 10 days to submit their nomination packages to the city. In order to do so, the city must be open with no impact from statutory holidays.

The last time such a by-election happened in Nelson was decades ago. 

“Mostly right now it’s just a wait-and-see and it all hinges on when and whether Coun. Anderson resigns,” Winton said.