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This is election year for B.C. cities

Think you can do a better job than the bunch sitting around the table now?

Then get your name in by Oct. 14 and you’ll be on the ballot for the Nov. 19 election that will choose who runs Maple Ridge for the next three years.

To give people an idea of what it means to enter a campaign and to hold office, district staff held an information session June 20. It drew about a dozen possible new politicians.

The rules for campaign financing are unlikely to change this election, despite a report by an election task force.

There are no legislative changes in the works that will affect this year’s vote, said Ceri Marlo, legislative services manager.

The report from the Local Government Elections Task Force, a Union of B.C. Municipalities and provincial government project, makes several recommendations.

Some of those: requiring campaign finance disclosure forms to be filed within 90 days of an election and to put those forms online; extending the term of office to four years (from three); and setting spending limits for campaign expenses.

Municipalities continue to try increase voter turnout above the usual 30 per cent.

District spokesman Fred Armstrong told council that local government affects people more than any other level and that Metro Vancouver will be making a video to get people out to vote.

Social media also will be used to reach younger voters, he said.

Coun. Craig Speirs said a turnout of 30 per cent of eligible voters in Maple Ridge “isn’t good enough.”

The price of democracy is a debt in blood, he said.

There are other municipalities where the turnout is even lower, said Mayor Ernie Daykin.

Nomination period begins  Oct. 4, so there are only 10 days to file the papers with the district and get on to the ballot.

Advance polls are open Nov. 5 and 9.

Coun. Linda King said the district has worked hard in previous elections to increase the turnout, but the numbers don’t change and she hoped social media would get more people to the polls.

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Community Events, September 2014

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