2020 BC election ballot package. Photo credit: Black Press files

2020 BC election ballot package. Photo credit: Black Press files

Langley school board byelection moves forward

No sign yet of provincial help with mail-in ballots during pandemic

There’s no word on whether a byelection to replace the chair of the Langley school board will get help from the province in a challenging environment for voting.

On Monday, Langley Township council voted to move forward with the process of holding a byelection to replace Megan Dykeman, who left the board of education after she won the Oct. 24 provincial election to become the NDP MLA for Langley East.

Because there isn’t a general municipal election for two years, there has to be a byelection in the near future.

On Dec. 14, the council appointed the senior election officials to oversee the process. Township clerk Wendy Bauer will be chief election officer, and consultant Bob Wilson will be deputy election officer.

In November, at Councillor Eric Woodward’s suggestion, the council sent a letter to Victoria asking for provincial support in running the byelection.

During the recent provincial election, 31.4 per cent of voters cast their ballots by mail, up from 0.3 per cent in the 2017 provincial election.

That was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted people to avoid the polls.

However, Woodward noted that the Township, which is responsible for local byelections, doesn’t have the power to create absentee ballots.

Coun. Steve Ferguson asked at the Dec. 14 meeting if there had been any word from Victoria yet.

“A letter went out,” said Mayor Jack Froese, but so far there was no response. “Based on legislation, we’re required to move through this matter.”

READ MORE: Elections BC should run Langley byelection, council says

The Township isn’t the only municipality to hold byelections – Mission and Chilliwack are among the other Fraser Valley municipalities that saw local politicians elected as MLAs on Oct. 24.

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