Hundreds of RM seats are uncontested this year

·2 min read

Hundreds of elected officials in rural municipalities will enter office without facing a challenger on Monday.

About 78 per cent of races in 192 of the province’s 206 rural municipalities will be acclaimed, according to candidate lists posted on the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) website and shared over email.

Voting for rural municipality councils alternates between odd and even-numbered divisions every two years. Monday’s election will consist of odd-numbered divisions and some even-numbered ones with seats to be filled.

The roughly 620 acclaimed candidates named in available nomination lists will make decisions affecting local infrastructure and economies across the province.

SARM President Ray Orb said seat contestation was a “mixed bag.” He added there are also many councils that face tighter races.

“We have a quite a few seats being contested. (For) some, it seems the entire council is up for reelection,” he said.

That may mean closer challenges to incumbents, but “generally speaking, elections are good for councillors,” he said. Orb added that it appears more seats are being contested than usual.

“We’ve been promoting more people to become involved in municipal politics, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Orb said more competition is focused on reeve positions, with some seats seeing more than one challenger. He’s pleased in the candidates’ interest, but advises councils with fully acclaimed seats to speak with ratepayers to build interest in municipal affairs, he said.

Attracting new candidates may involve speaking to different motivations, he added. Some councillors may be interested in improving their local economies, while others may be more focused on issues like rural health care.

“We serve farms and we look after a lot of infrastructure. The people who get elected to those positions have a lot of responsibility.”

Voters in rural municipalities head to the polls on Monday.

Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix