Nominations close in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh byelection, with 6 candidates in race

·3 min read
Six candidates are officially in the race for the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh seat in the Northwest Territories' Legislative Assembly. (CBC - image credit)
Six candidates are officially in the race for the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh seat in the Northwest Territories' Legislative Assembly. (CBC - image credit)

Nominations closed Friday afternoon for candidates wishing to run in the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh byelection.

The seat was left vacant by previous MLA Steve Norn, who was expelled after a public inquiry determined he had violated the Legislative Assembly's code of conduct when he broke mandatory COVID-19 self-isolation rules and misled the media about it.

But the fiasco didn't stop Norn from seeking re-election. He's one of six candidates now running to represent the communities of Dettah, Ndilǫ, Łutselkʼe and Fort Resolution.

The others are: Ernest Betsina, Richard Edjericon, Mary Rose Sundberg, Nadine Delorme and Clinton Unka. (The CBC aims to profile all candidates ahead of voting day.)

Candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to withdraw their nomination.

Elections NWT to start mailing out ballots Monday

The byelection, set for Feb. 8, will happen exclusively by mail-in ballot, as a COVID-19 protection measure.

Stephen Dunbar, N.W.T.'s chief electoral officer, said Elections NWT will start mailing out ballots to everyone on the voters list on Monday, though eligible constituents have until 2 p.m. on Jan. 29 to register to vote and get a ballot

"We are doing everything we can to try and make this as easy as possible," said Dunbar. "We do need voters to make sure that they are on the list, and if they are not on the list, we need them to register with us in order to get a ballot."

As of Friday, Dunbar said, there were 883 registered voters in the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh riding.

He cautioned that people who turned 18 after the 2019 general election may not be on the voters list, and he encouraged everyone who's unsure to check on Elections NWT's website.

People in the riding without a fixed address can still get a ballot to vote.

Any Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh voter who's not on the voters list and who doesn't have identification proving their residency, can have another voter on the list vouch for them, said Dunbar.

Elections NWT will then send the ballot to an election worker for the voter to pick up, or they will mail the ballot to an address provided by the voter.

Mailed ballots should be sent before Feb. 1

Byelection day is Feb. 8 and voters can return their ballots up until 8 p.m.

Dunbar said voters who wait until that day to make their decision can put their ballots in an Elections NWT drop box in their community.

Dettah and Ndilǫ voters can cast ballots at a drop box at the office of the returning officer in the Det'on Cho building in Ndilǫ. There is also a drop box at Elections NWT on the third floor of YK Centre East in Yellowknife.

The agency is still looking for drop box locations in Dettah, Łutselkʼe and Fort Resolution.

Voters planning send their ballot via the mail should do so before Feb. 1, said Dunbar.

"Right now, Canada Post is saying it takes about seven days to be delivered," he said. "If a ballot package is received here on February 9th, it cannot be counted."

Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh voters won't know the byelection results on polling day.

The votes are set to be counted in Yellowknife the following day, on Feb. 9.

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