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City officials looking at two municipal election bylaw changes

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City of Grande Prairie officials will be taking a closer look at a pair of potential changes to the bylaws surrounding the municipal election.

The first surrounds the number of nomination signatures a potential candidate must acquire before making their campaign official. The current bylaw, under the Alberta Local Election Authority Act, only requires the names of five people, with the changes pushing that to 25.

Councillor Dylan Bressey, who spoke to the changes at a recent Corporate Services Committee, says it really shouldn’t be an issue if you’re legitimately looking to run for council or mayor in the city.

“If you are serious about campaigning, getting 25 signatures isn’t a barrier at all, and if anything it probably helps you get your campaign organized.”

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Bressey also took aim at what he believes is a confusing aspect of the election bylaw surrounding signs. Currently, candidate signs are not allowed with 500 metres of a construction zone, and Bressey believes the lack of clarity could lead to people unknowingly breaking the rules.

“Construction zones change throughout the campaign season, and the bylaw isn’t clear if the 500 metre is a linear distance on the same street or a radius of 500 metres on all streets,” he said.

Committee members did ask city administration to amend the bylaw to make the change to the number of signatures needed but remain hesitant to give the green light to the sign bylaw changes.

Bressey says he remains optimistic about getting both suggestions into an amended bylaw, as he was told the conversation can remain open, but other committee members would like more specific recommendations.

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