Maple Ridge keeps candidate nominations at two

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Maple Ridge council considered raising the bar to run for council -- but has decided to keep things they way are.

A majority on council last week supported Coun. Cheryl Ashlie’s amendment to the election bylaw – keeping the number of signatures required on a candidate’s nomination form to two.

The bylaw, reflecting changes in provincial law, had suggested that be increased to 10, in an attempt to whittle down the number of candidates on the municipal ballot. In the 2011 election, 28 people ran for council.

But Ashlie said requiring 10 people to sign a nomination form, reveals who those 10 people support. “By having it as a rule, I think it flies in the face of our structure of democracy where everybody has the right to have their vote secret.”

Instead, it’s up to the public to determine whether a candidate should sit on council.

Ashlie’s motion received the support of council, although Couns. Corisa Bell and Bob Masse opposed the bylaw.

They had also earlier proposed adding referendum questions to the ballot as a means of stimulating voter interest but a majority of council opposed that.

In the 2011 election, 25 per cent voted, down from 29 per cent in 2008 and 31 per cent in 2005.

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