City of Victoria staff are reviewing provincial guidelines for safe byelections amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An upcoming byelection will elect a replacement for former councillor Laurel Collins, who was voted the new NDP minister of parliament in October. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria explores options for safe byelection during pandemic

Election to replace former councillor Laurel Collins

City of Victoria staff are investigating how to hold a byelection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff are reviewing byelection guidelines recently released by the province, said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, and will continue discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The byelection would determine the replacement for Laurel Collins, who left council when she was elected NDP Member of Parliament in October 2019. In January, Victoria scheduled a byelection for April but the pandemic – and advice from Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Stanwick – postponed that election.

READ ALSO: Victoria by-election postponed due to COVID-19 precautions

With the provincial restart plan well underway, British Columbians can return to schools, restaurants, churches, overnight campgrounds and now the polls, with health and safety measures still in place.

Provincial guidelines released Wednesday, July 29 encourage enhanced mail-in and advanced voting opportunities and the use of in-person voting locations that allow for physical distancing. The province also encourages ‘curbside voting’ or other ‘special voting opportunities.’

Helps said staff seek the next steps to safely proceed with a byelection with a report expected before council in September.

READ ALSO: Victoria byelection scheduled for April 4


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