Most citizens of Rimbey are still in the dark about who’s running in their municipal election this fall.
The town’s returning officer said a decision was made not to publicize the candidates’ names on an elections website.
Instead, anyone interested must come to the returning officer’s office, in person, and she will show them the names that have been officially entered as election candidates, so far.
The City of Wetaskiwin have made a similar decision: to not publicize names until after nominations close on Sept. 20.
The County of Wetaskiwin had previously stated on its website that candidate names will be released when nominations close. But that has been changed recently. The county website lists six candidates as of Friday morning at 10 a.m.
By comparison, Red Deer’s returning officer has been publishing the names of official election candidates on the elections.reddeer.ca website as they submit their papers. This has been happening since January and the election is on Oct. 18.
Bonnie Ryback, the Town of Rimbey’s executive assistant and returning officer, said the decision not to publicize the names was made between her and the town’s administrator. In an interview with the Advocate she said this decision could change in future.
According to the Local Authorities Election Act in Alberta: “Within 48 hours of the close of nominations on nomination day, the returning officer shall post, or cause to be posted at the local jurisdiction office, the names of all candidates that have been nominated and the offices for which they were nominated.”
For the 2021 municipal elections, all municipalities must post the names of candidates within two days after the close of nominations — which means 48 hours after 12 p.m. on Sept. 20, stated Carrie Sancartier, assistant communications director for Alberta Municipal Affairs.
Samantha Rodwell, returning officer for the City of Red Deer said, “Unlike in previous years where candidates had just one day to submit nomination forms, this year they have been able to submit their nominations since Jan. 1, and can continue to do so until noon on Sept. 20, which is Nomination Day.”
The City of Red Deer has been publicizing their names on the website 48 hours after their submissions since the start of 2021.
Note: This story was updated the morning of Aug. 27 to reflect that the County of Wetaskiwin lists its municipal election candidates on its website. The change also notes the current returning officer for the City of Red Deer.