Thinking of running for municipal office?

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Anyone considering running in this year’s municipal election race will have a chance to learn what it’s all about as changes to the election rules roll out this spring.

Clerk Pamela Fettes oversees the elections in Clearview, held every four years. She has already done quite a bit of work to make sure the municipality is properly positioned for the election period and meets all the deadlines set out in the Municipal Elections Act, and subsequent review.

The nomination period, which has been shortened from 37 weeks to 13 weeks, opens May 1. The filing deadline is 2 p.m. on July 27.

Shortening the length of the nomination period, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, gives municipalities more time to prepare ahead of the election, should they choose to use ranked ballots. The voting option was added this year as part of the review, but Clearview has already opted out given that it has a ward system with a relatively small number of candidates in each ward.

Council has however opted for a second stab at internet and telephone voting.

One big change for perspective candidates is that they will have to gather 25 signatures from eligible voters who support their nomination. (This change does not apply to school trustee candidates.)

“I would suspect this is to make sure that they are serious about running,” said Fettes.

“The individuals providing the signatures will each have to sign a declaration stating that they were eligible to vote in the municipality on the day that they signed the endorsement,” states the ministry. “If a candidate files a nomination, and then changes their mind and decides to run for a different office on the same council, they are not required to submit new signatures.”

And as of April 1, there is a requirement for third party advertisers to register with the municipality. The policy refers to individuals, corporations and unions that are advertising a position, either for or against a specific candidate. Third party advertising does not include “issue based” messaging promoted by community groups.

Fettes said a coordinated effort is underway with neighbouring municipalities, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, to inform those interested in running about the process and any relevant changes.

She highly recommends prospective candidates attend an initial information session on April 4 to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in council chambers at the Clearview Administration Centre in Stayner. Registration is now open. Contact Fettes at [email protected] or 705-428-2638 ext. 224. Forms and candidate information packages will be available some time in the spring.

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