RUNNING AND VOTING IN 2018

Well, OK, the question just recurred once, but anyways…

Are you feeling a little left out? After all, it’s well after January 1 and no Thorold municipal politicians have yet come to your door with fliers or to ask you to display their sign when they’re printed. After all, this is a municipal election year in Ontario.

Of course, there’s also a chance that you weren’t aware that this was an election year, at least municipally. After all, only roughly 31% of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in the last one.

Or maybe you’re just a bit preoccupied, what with all the provincial election promises, drama, and other assorted nonsense that’s flying around for an election that isn’t even called yet, but will be. Or maybe it has something to do with Trump, or global warming, or Russian hacking.

But, if you’re one of those who feel slighted, fear not! No one has forgotten about you. There are new rules for this municipal election, and one of those new rules is that no one can sign up to run, or campaign, until May 1, 2018. As you may or may not know, or care, that’s much later than usual, but it’s a trade-off because signs can go up earlier due to the Thorold sign by-law’s rule that they can go up after nominations are closed. Oh well.

There have been all kinds of rumours flying out there concerning who might run for what, for some time already. If you’re interested, you’ve probably heard at least some of them. But, unlike in past elections, this time they can’t campaign until May 1.

If you’re thinking about running, bear in mind another new rule or, actually, an old rule resurrected. This year, if you want to run for office, you must have at least 25 friends or people who owe you, people who like you or owe you enough to sign a nomination form.

All 25 must all must be eligible to vote in Thorold, and you have until only July 27 this year to accomplish this. If you find people reluctant, it might make it easier if you tell them that they won’t have to worry. Their signature doesn’t make them responsible for your promises: at least, not legally.

If there are only enough nominations to fill the right number of positions for any slot at closing on July 27 (either), those positions are acclaimed. And, if all of the positions are filled unopposed, we won’t have to go through the motions of an election. Much as you might consider that ideal, it rarely happens, in Thorold anyways.

Just think though: no flyers spilling out of your grey box or blowing down the street, no election signs decorating the neighbourhood. Dream on. So far, it looks like there might be a rather large field of candidates again, as seems to have been the case in the last several elections.

So, chances are that there will be a campaign. Some people you’ve heard of and some you haven’t will come to your door to give you their version of a perfect Thorold, or maybe just a bleak picture of how they see it right now. Don’t worry though: they’ll all be able to fix it. Some will bring fliers and some fliers will just appear as if by magic in your mailbox, or between your doors, or blowing across your front lawn.

And then, the big day will come. October 22, 2018. Election day for Ontario municipalities. And, realizing that your municipal governments are responsible for most of the most vital, closest-to-you services – such as water and sewer, police and ambulance, education, streets, parks, and what you can do with your property – you will go down to a polling station.

You will look at a long list of people vying or the positions of Mayor, eight City Councillors at large, Regional Councillor, and one rep. for each School Board. And, if you hadn’t noticed before, you’ll see there’s another new wrinkle: this time you’ll be asked to vote directly for a Regional Chair. A what? Exactly.

You might even recognize a name or two and vote for the ones you know, realizing you’re making a difference. You might feel good about yourself and, if you were part of the previous election’s 69% who stayed home, you may wonder why you’ve never done this before.

But first, we’ll have to get through the Provincial election.

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