Petawawa council election nominations open May 1
Tina Peplinskie/Daily Observer Petawawa chief administration Officer Daniel Scissons updates the voting tally during the town's 2006 municipal election. The next election in 2018 will see changes to the nominating process and how candidates finance their campaigns.
PETAWAWA – Candidates running for a seat on town council this fall will have to navigate several changes to the Ontario Municipal Elections Act.
Under Bill 68, one of the most immediate changes is the date in which nominations can be filed. In the past, that date was Jan. 1. For the 2018 general election, nominations open on May 1 and close on Friday, July 27 at 2 p.m.
“They can announce their intention to run in the election but they can’t campaign,” said Town of Petawawa deputy clerk Dawn Recoskie, who will be responsible for overseeing the election, scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, along with chief administrative officer Dan Scissons.
In order to run for municipal council or a school board trustee position, a candidate must be a resident of the municipality or a non-resident owner or tenant of land in the municipality or the spouse of such non-resident owner or tenant; a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years old; not legally prohibited from voting; and not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office. You will need 25 signatures on your nomination form and must pay a fee of $100 ($200 for mayor).
In Petawawa, voters will be asked to elect a mayor and six councillors. The council candidate with the most votes is automatically declared the deputy mayor. Led by Mayor Bob Sweet, the current council includes Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns and councillors Treena Lemay, Theresa Sabourin, James Carmody, Murray Rutz and Gary Serviss. The next council’s term of office begins Dec. 1, 2018 but ends on Nov.14, 2022.
Although you can announce your candidacy, there are strict rules about advertising. Until you file your papers on May 1 or afterward, you cannot set up a social media page, for example a Facebook page, or distribute flyers, posters or promote any other advertising. Mayoralty candidates are limited to $7,500 for their campaign plus 85 cents for each elector (using the 2014 population for Petawawa of 13,375 that would amount to $18,868).
Council candidates are limited to $5,000 plus 85 cents per elector. A candidate or their spouse cannot fund an entire campaign. Individuals, corporations and unions can register as third party advertisers and can contribute to third party advertisers. Third party advertising must be done independently of candidates, who are not able to direct a third party advertiser. Candidates are not able to register as third party advertisers.
This election, Petawawa will be offering electronic voting for the first time via the telephone and Internet. However, paper ballots will still be available and can be cast the town hall on Victoria Street. Internet and telephone voting begins on Friday, Oct. 12 starting at 10 a.m. and concludes on Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. when the polls will close.
The town will have an advance poll for those who want to cast a paper ballot in Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Election Day, the polls will be open at the town hall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A telephone and Internet station will be set up if residents still want to cast their votes electronically but don’t have a phone or computer. An election staff member will be available to assist.
Recoskie is encouraging residents to ensure they are on the voters’ list by check the website voterlookup.ca beginning in March.
“We want all residents to ensure they are on the voters list and we hope they come out and take part in the Democratic process,” she said.
Candidates will be provided with a comprehensive election guide and package upon registering. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is also launching an online program called “So You Want to Run for Council?” which will be presented live at MunicipalEducation.ca by mid to late February, 2018. This course is geared to individuals who are planning to run for a seat on municipal council. For questions about the course contact Navneet Dhaliwal, AMO special events and business development co-ordinator at: email@example.com.