Monday, February 09, 2009

New rules for running for Victoria City council

I am glad to see that the council has chosen to make it a bit harder for people to get onto the ballot. The small deposit would not be a hardship for anyone seriously running for office since you have to raise about $5000 to $10 000 to have reasonable chance of getting elected.

The number of signatures is too low in my opinion. The signature number should be in the range of 500 to 1000. If you are serious about running for election and winning, you need a team of people working with you and a higher number of signatures is completely realistic.

The new rules may be enough to make the number of candidates in the City of Victoria closer to a more realistic number for people to have a chance to make a well informed decision. Having in excess of 30 candidates means even the most diligent people have little chance of actually being able to learn about all the people running.

Having people on the ballot that have no intention of trying to get elected does no one any favours. Putting a barrier to getting on the ballot that requires some work is completely reasonable. If you can not overcome this first test of getting elected, then you have lost the election.

Personally I would like to see the city move to an election by STV. Raise the number of councilors to ten and group them in two five member STV ridings or wards. The current system of vote for up to eight and the top finishers win is the worst electoral system out there. It makes it hard for new people to get elected and favours incumbents unless it has political parties like in Vancouver. Once you have parties, you end up typically throughing out almost everyone from one election to the next.

To do this, the provincial government would have to change the law for local governments to allow them to control their own electoral process.
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