Local elections get enough candidates for functioning councils

There will be 148 positions that will have just one candidate in elections made necessary as part of local governance reform. (CBC - image credit)
There will be 148 positions that will have just one candidate in elections made necessary as part of local governance reform. (CBC - image credit)

Every council being chosen in local elections this month will have enough people to function, says Kim Poffenroth, New Brunswick's chief electoral officer.

The deadline for candidate nominations was last Friday.

There are still four spots that have no candidates, she said, but at least one person is running for mayor in all places facing elections on Nov. 28.

Poffenroth told CBC News she's "quite pleased with the eventual numbers" of candidates who put their names forward.

The elections are for newly amalgamated communities and rural district advisory committees, plus byelections in some long-established communities where changes have been made because of local governance reform.

Of the 446 positions up for votes, 298 will have contested elections, Poffenroth said. This means 148 races will be uncontested.

Vacancies to be filled in May

For those communities that have vacancies on ballots, the positions may be filled during byelections in May.

She said the vacancies won't jeopardize a local government's operations.

CBC
CBC

"So the residents of those municipalities, even with those few vacancies on councils, will have functioning councils," she said. "They'll be able to represent their residents and continue to function."

Wendy Alcorn is running for mayor of the newly amalgamated Valley Waters, where nobody ran for councillor of Ward 3.

She's concerned that without councillors in Ward 3, the concerns of those residents would slip through the cracks.

"It's going to be tough, because you need to hear all sides of the story," Alcorn said.

Poffenroth optimistic about voter turnout

Looking forward to voter turnout, Poffenroth said municipal voting turnout is usually low compared to federal and provincial elections. But she's optimistic.

"I'm hopeful that because these are brand new local governments, that's the first opportunity for residents to actually have their say on … the direction they want for the future, that they get out and vote."

She added that having candidates out campaigning in the community will increase awareness that there's a vote coming up.