Dryden school trustee election proposed for early 2023

A new vote is being recommended for February of next year, after a ballot error cancelled the election of Dryden's representative on the Keewatin Patricia District School Board.

Dryden city administration will present a recommended bylaw to hold the new election at the next city council meeting on Nov. 14.

On election day, the city clerk and returning officer, Allyson Euler, declared an emergency under the Municipal Elections Act suspending the election for the Dryden representative on the Keewatin Patricia District School Board because some voters received two ballots for the same race.

Euler said the city started getting calls from residents and property owners in Dryden and the outlying areas that they got two ballots, which could potentially enable them to vote twice for the Dryden trustee position.

“[The voters] were then advised the first ballot from the school board was sent to them by error and that vote wasn’t going to count,” said Euler. “Of course, some of these people already submitted their vote by mail ballot directly to the board of education as directed in their ballot letters and then realized they hadn’t voted on our ballot on the same question because you are only allowed to vote on one question once and then they realized they wouldn’t have a vote.”

Euler said the city consulted with legal counsel and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the school board of education on how to move forward.

“It was determined that the best course of action was to call a halt to that portion of the election and move forward separately,” she said.

Euler said the administration will present a report at the Nov. 14 Council meeting, "to explain how we got from where we started with the school portion of the election to where we are now, and why council will be asked to adopt a bylaw to enable a by-election in the early part of 2023.”

Euler said the presentation will go to the current council during its last meeting and the by-law would need to be adopted by the new council.

“We’re looking at bylaw at the [Dec. 12] meeting of council, which then will start us moving. Being able to ask for a voters list and get everything set up with the voting company, probably the early part of February,” she said. “There has to be some solution to the situation, so moving forward with an actual election for that race only is the best solution at this point in time.”

Barbara Gauthier and Judi Green who were the candidates for the Oct. 24 election will be on the ballot for the future election if the bylaw is passed by council.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source