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Alberta government asks for feedback on municipal election rules

New rules for municipal elections in Alberta?
WATCH (Jan. 24): There could be new rules in place the next time you cast a ballot in a city election. Changes are being considered and Alberta's big city mayors have some concerns. Tom Vernon explains.

The United Conservative government wants to hear from Albertans — including voters, elected officials, community advocacy groups and campaign volunteers — about the rules that govern municipal and school board elections.

For one month, between Feb. 4 and March 4, Albertans can provide feedback online at Alberta.ca about the length of the campaign period, nomination process, campaign finances, third-party advertising and recall of municipally-elected officials.

In a news release on Tuesday, the province said it would also hold “focused discussions with representatives from municipalities and community advocacy groups.”

READ MORE: Some municipal politicians in Alberta fear partisan bent will be introduced into election campaigns

Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu said this won’t be a “wholesale review like the one in 2018,” but the government wants to hear how rules can be improved before the next round of municipal and school board elections.

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“While the Local Authorities Election Act was reviewed and revised following local elections in 2017, government continues to receive feedback suggesting gaps exist in the legislation,” the news release said.

“Albertans expect local elections to be fair, transparent and inclusive,” Madu said. “This consultation will determine if and how we, as a government, can better meet these goals.”

The province said feedback “may be used to inform potential changes to the legislation, which could be brought forward in a future session of the legislature.”

At the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) President’s Summit in Edmonton on Jan. 23, Madu confirmed the UCP government was considering changes with regard to how municipal elections are run.

READ MORE: Iveson hopeful about fiscal relationship with province after meeting with municipal affairs minister

At the time, Edmonton’s mayor Don Iveson said it was the first time he’d officially heard a review was coming.

“That’s a concern,” he said on Jan. 23. “This is consistent with a pattern of us finding out about things when they’re already in progress rather than being asked for input on the front end.”

The next municipal elections will be in October 2021.