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Langley school board byelection to feature mail-in ballots for first time

COVID-19 has prompted the change in local byelection procedure
Langley Township voters will choose a new school board trustee on Feb. 27. (Langley Advance Times files)

A school board byelection in Langley will feature mail-in ballots for the first time this February.

Langley Township voters will choose a new school trustee on Saturday, Feb. 27, to replace outgoing board of education chair turned Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman.

Five of the seven board members on the Langley school board are elected in the Township, so the Township is in charge of the election to fill Dykeman’s vacant seat.

There will be advance voting and, for the first time, mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bob Wilson, the deputy chief elections officer for the byelection.

“We’ve never done mail-in ballots,” said Wilson, who has been an organizer behind multiple local Langley elections.

Those wishing to receive a mail-in ballot will have to wait until the candidate nominations are in, as until it’s certain there are multiple nominees, there might not even be an election. If just one candidate fills out their papers, they could be acclaimed, Wilson noted.

Candidates for the spot can file their nomination papers starting on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 9 a.m., and the nomination period will close at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22.

Assuming there’s more than one nominee, the candidates will be able to campaign until the end of February.

Stacey Wakelin has already announced she plans to run for the post.

READ MORE: Wakelin announces run for Langley School Board

There will be three days of advance voting on Wednesday, Feb. 17, Thursday, Feb. 18, and Friday, Feb. 19 at the Aldergrove Civic Facility and Walnut Grove Community Centre, Wilson said.

On election day the following Saturday, Feb. 27, voting will take place at Aldergrove Secondary, the George Preston Recreation Centre, R.C. Garnett Demonstration Elementary, Lynn Fripps Elementary, James Kennedy Elementary, and James Hill Elementary.

On the advance and regular election days, voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wilson said the ballot will be simple, and officials are planning for a hand-count of all the votes, with no machine counting, as is typical with the more complicated municipal election ballots, where voters can fill in multiple categories for councillors, mayor, and school trustees.

Nomination packages for candidates were expected to be available on the Township of Langley’s website starting later Monday, Jan. 4 or Tuesday, Jan. 5.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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