City postpones Ward 7 byelection over COVID-19
Windsor City Hall in Windsor, Ont., on Monday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor city council Ward 7 byelection set to take place in April is being postponed due to circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus.
Windsor’s clerk made the announcement on Tuesday, declaring an emergency under section 53 of the Municipal Elections Act, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic “and the rapid rate at which the situation is changing.”
The declaration will postpone the Ward 7 byelection originally scheduled to take place on April 27, however the city has not selected a new date.
“As the pandemic situations is ever evolving, new dates for voting day and advanced voting days are yet to be determined,” read a media release from the City of Windsor on Tuesday.
The Municipal Elections Act grants the city clerk, Valerie Critchley, the authority to declare an emergency “if she’s of the opinion that circumstances have arisen that are likely to prevent the election from being conducted in accordance with the legislative requirements of the Act,” the release indicated.
The clerk will also declare when the emergency has ended and make arrangements to continue with the byelection process at that time.
“This decision was made after consultation with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and City Legal Counsel, taking into account the health and safety of residents, voters in Ward 7, candidates and election workers,” noted the city release.
“The uncertain availability of polling locations (e.g. community centres, churches, long-term care homes), election supplies, other resources, and the overall movement towards social distancing all contributed to the decision to postpone the by-election.”
The campaign period will remain open during this emergency period and additional campaign time will be allotted once the emergency is over.
Nominations for the byelection closed on Friday, March 13 with 12 people entering the race to fill the Ward 7 council seat vacated by Irek Kusmierczyk when he was elected as a federal member of parliament in the fall.
The city says there will be no consideration for new candidates.
A number of candidates had previously suggested the city postpone the byelection.
Running in the byelection are Igor Dzaic, Farrah-El-Hajj, Michelle Gajewski, Jeewen Gill, Barb Holland, Ernie Lamont, Greg Lemay, Michael Malott, Angelo Marignani, Thérèse Papineau, Albert Saba and Howard Weeks.