With only one month left until the writ drops for B.C.’s 41st general election, Kootenay West still has only one declared candidate, NDP incumbent Katrine Conroy.
Conroy was confirmed at a regional constituency meeting in August and will be seeking her fourth MLA term on May 9.
At this point, with no independents or party candidates coming forward, the scenario parallels what happened four years ago. Conroy was the lone candidate until shortly before the April 2013 deadline when two independents stepped forward as well as a Liberal candidate – neither the BC Conservatives nor the Green Party fielded candidates in the riding.
That could change this time as the Liberals and Greens are currently recruiting for Kootenay West but not the Conservatives, according to the websites of all three parties.
Once election day is officially called on April 11, candidate nominations must be submitted by the seventh day, or in this case, April 18 at 1 p.m.
In the meantime, Elections BC work is going on behind-the-scenes. All district electoral offices will be open to the public on April 10, which is the date that District Electoral Officers (DEO) in each provincial electoral district will begin hiring.
Don Vinish, DEO for Kootenay West, confirmed to the Trail Times that the Trail office will be located at 900 Spokane Street, and hiring will begin April 12.
Those interested in a position are encouraged to review the electoral district maps (elections.bc.ca/maps) to determine which district they would like to work in. Notably, applicants may apply for work in more than one electoral district, however submitting an application does not guarantee employment.
Voting officers and voting clerks will earn $250 on May 9, though the day is long – 14 hours or more. Duties begin with set-up of the voting place at 7 a.m. and conclude with completion of ballot count at approximately 9:30 p.m. In between start and finish, election workers must be prepared to sit or stand for long periods.
Rules do apply for Elections BC work: election officials must be at least 15 years old and legally entitled to work in B.C.; a training session is mandatory and must be completed before working as an election official even if the individual has worked the position before.
Office contact information will be published on the Elections BC website April 10, or applicants may call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 to find out the nearest location of the district electoral office.
Locally, advance voting will take place at the Royal Canadian Legions in Trail, Castlegar, and Nakusp. Those dates are on April 29 and April 30 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Wednesday May 3 to Saturday May 6 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. General Voting Day is Tuesday, May 9, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Pacific time.
Vinish reminds the public to bring their voting card to the polls, or their drivers licence, BC ID Card or Certificate of Indian Status. Without those IDs, two other pieces of ID are required to confirm identity, such as a utility bill or BC Care Card.
“We are using more electronics in this election and the “Where to Vote Card” mailed to every registered voter will be the key to fast-tracking the voting process,” he said. “Voters may register or change address online at www.elections.bc.ca to ensure that they are on the voters list.”
If a voter is unable to vote in advance or on General Voting Day, there is an opportunity to vote absentee in the district electoral office beginning April 11.