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Off to the polls

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 24 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Residents of several settlements and hamlets in the NWT will be going to the polls on Dec. 8.

Elections will be held in eight communities - Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, Fort McPherson, Fort Providence and Fort Resolution - although some of the positions have already been acclaimed.

David Kravitz, the chief municipal electoral officer with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, used the word "average" to describe many aspects of this year's election.

"I think the interest level is about average," he said of the number of candidates.

In all, there are 10 candidates for five mayoral positions and 71 candidates for 41 council positions.

Each position will be filled by election or has been acclaimed, meaning there will not likely be need to appoint council members.

"Usually, we have enough candidates," Kravitz said.

The percentage of acclamations this year is 30 per cent, which is higher than the 15 per cent average.

Last year, 40 per cent of candidates were acclaimed. In hamlets, candidates are permitted to run for both council and mayor. In such a case, if a person wins the mayoral race, the votes he or she gets for a council seat are not counted.

In both Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok, a candidate has been acclaimed to council, but is also running for mayor.

Kravitz said in those cases there may be a vacancy on the councils following the election if the acclaimed councillor happens to be elected mayor.

Kravitz said the number of female candidates in this year's election is about average.

There are four women running for mayoral positions and 29 running or acclaimed as councillors.

In addition to the council elections, members of District Education Authorities are also being chosen in Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson.