The federal election threw a wrench into the campaigns of many municipal council hopefuls, but now they’re ready to work overtime to get out the vote locally.
Byron Vass is running for city councillor in Ward papastew. Like many other candidates, he’s worried about the impact of back to back elections on voters.
“The biggest challenge has been the burnout people are feeling with all the elections and all the door knocking,” he explained.
“There’s people that come to the doors and they’re not feeling like they really want to chat, because they’ve already spent too much time at the doors with candidates from either the municipal or federal election.”
In Karhiio, Charan Saggu had a different problem when trying to connect with voters.
“A lot of voters were confused – what door knocking are we doing: for federal or city?”
So he decided to put his campaign on hold for the week leading up to the federal election. But now, his team is working overtime.
“That’s why you see a lot of signs here. We did not want to confuse people with our signs. We’ll put them out now, my crew is ready. There were a few challenges, we lost a little time,” he said.
But he’s optimistic some of the engagement from Ottawa’s election might carry over.
“I think now people are used to it, they might come out in large numbers. Because we have many good contestants and they’ll pull out the votes,” Saggu said.
Guiscela Perez Arellano also took a break in her campaign after feeling overshadowed by national issues.
“The federal election just came in and took over and it took all the spotlight. It was very hard to go against that,” she explained.
Now she’s trying to get her name and platform out there in unconventional ways — opting to give away products from local businesses.
“We have all this campaign money and sometimes it’s wasted on lawn signs. I know a lot of people choose that venue, I think we have to be more creative,” she said.
Perez Arellano is trying to explain the importance of this election to voters, and she’s hopeful it’s working.
“They are realizing that the local election will impact them more directly than the federal one.”
“People have to know that council is the one who spends their property tax dollars.”
But time is already running out. The municipal election is on October 18th, with advance polls opening just a week and a half from now, on October 4th.
“Every vote counts for this. We need to make sure we have a strong council moving forward that reflects the priorities of all Edmontonians,” Vass said.