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City of Cambridge opts for byelection to fill vacant Ward 1 seat

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The City of Cambridge voted in favour of holding a byelection to fill the vacant Ward 1 council seat left after Donna Reid died earlier this month.

On Tuesday, council weighed two available options – a byelection or an appointment method to fill the seat – and ultimately opted for the byelection approach.

The byelection will be held through a combination of online voting and in-person voting with paper ballots.

On Aug. 15, 2023, Council officially declared the Office of Councillor, Ward 1 vacant as required by the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001.

This declaration triggered a countdown of 60 days to determine the method by which they choose to fill the vacancy.

Choosing to fill the vacancy through a byelection means that Ward 1 will be vacant for approximately three months from the date that council declared the vacancy.

The clerk is responsible for fixing the date of nomination day to be a day not less than 30 days and not more than 60 days after council passes a bylaw to hold the byelection.

The proposed timeline in the report sent to council indicates council could begin a nomination period on Sept. 5, with advance voting beginning Nov. 1.

The official results would occur on Nov. 14, and on Nov. 28 the new councillor would be sworn in.

The estimated costs of conducting the byelection will be between $20,000 and $50,000, the report reads.

This estimate is based on cost estimates the City Clerk has obtained and on the number of eligible electors in Ward 1.

Following the 2020 byelection for Ward 7, the 2022 Municipal Election and the resumption of the Catholic District School Board Election, the balance in the Election Reserve is currently $61,970, the report says.

If a byelection is selected by council, staff recommend funding the additional costs from the rate stabilization reserve fund which is intended to be used to offset extraordinary one-time pressures.

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