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New Brunswick municipal elections to be held in May 2021

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WATCH (Sept. 22): Calls for New Brunswick to set a date for municipal elections are growing in the province. Votes were supposed to be cast in towns and cities back in May, but that was put on hold because of the pandemic. As Tim Roszell reports, it will be months before elections New Brunswick is ready – Sep 22, 2020

New Brunswickers will head to the polls again next year only this time they’ll be casting a vote for their municipal government.

The province announced on Wednesday that local council’s, regional health authority and district education council representatives will be chosen on May 10, 2021.

Although municipal elections were originally set for May 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the provincial government to delay them.

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That’s meant that representatives in many municipalities have served five years, rather than the normal period of four years.

“We appreciate the commitment and dedication of our local elected representatives who have had their terms extended due to COVID-19,” said Local Government Minister Daniel Allain in a press release.

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“It is important that we re-establish the intended four-year election cycle and provide the assurance of a set time for those who continue to serve. We did not want to interrupt the municipal budget cycle that local governments have started and need to complete in the coming weeks.”

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The election period for the municipal vote will be nearly 60 days. That means candidates can start campaigning at the beginning of March, although a specific date was not offered up by the province.

New Brunswick says one reason the elections were scheduled in May was to avoid having returning office employees and candidates travelling in the winter months.

The province says it will use lessons learned in the provincial election in September to ensure the voting process keeps voters safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Read more: New Brunswick postpones municipal elections in response to coronavirus pandemic

Setting the elections in May also means there will be more time to train workers on new technology being rolled out for the municipal election, the province said.

The new technology will help modernize voting procedures in New Brunswick.

“Elections New Brunswick intends to introduce workers, voters and candidates to a poll pad-based system that will replace many of the paper-based procedures currently used at polling stations and returning offices during elections that we administer,” said Chief Electoral Officer Kim Poffenroth.