A byelection is required in spring 2020 to replace former councillor Laurel Collins. (File contributed/Laurel Collins)

Byelection to replace Victoria councillor set to cost more than $140,000

Staff recommend a smaller election process for March 14

City of Victoria staff are recommending a byelection be scheduled for March 14 as a cost-saving measure for residents.

In a report coming to the committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, staff lay out the what is needed for an upcoming byelection required to replace Laurel Collins.

Collins resigned from council on Nov. 4 after being voted in as a member of parliament for Victoria for the NDP party in the 2019 federal election.

Staff outline two possible options for the byelection; a modified election process for March 14 would see four general voting stations as well as eight advance voting stations at city hall and a mail ballot voting system.

This option would cost between $140,000 and $170,000.

WATCH: NDP Laurel Collins elected in Victoria

The second option is a standard election process, which would include 12 voting stations, five advance voting stations at city hall, a mail ballot voting system and special voting opportunities at care homes with 50 or more residents.

This would need more time to organize and therefore happen on April 18, and cost between $320,000 to $360,000.

Staff are recommending the first option, citing data that shows that byelections get a lower voter turnout than a general election, especially if there are no referendum questions attached.

ALSO READ: February byelection to replace Victoria Coun. Laurel Collins

In a 2017 Saanich byelection, staff pointed out, approximately 17 per cent of eligible voters turned out compared to the 2018 general election where 34 per cent of Saanich residents voted.

The voter turnout in Victoria for 2018 was 43 per cent.

The last byelection in Victoria was in 2010, and included a referendum question about borrowing money for the Johnson Street Bridge.

That byelection required 12 polling stations.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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