Weyburn residents will be going to the polls in a by-election on May 31st. The announcement was made during Monday’s meeting of Weyburn City Council, after the announcement of the resignation of longtime councillor Dick Michel earlier in the day.
The call for nominations is scheduled for April 5th, with the opening of nominations being on April 11th. The deadline for nominations is April 26th, and the election takes place on May 31st. The lone polling place for the by-election will be at the Credit Union Spark Centre.
There will be two days of advanced polls – May 25th and May 27th – with mail-in ballots also being allowed. The mail-in ballots will take the place of the mobile poll and special poll for the by-election. Mail-in ballots will be able to be picked up at City Hall until 4:00 p.m. May 30th and need to be at City Hall by 8:00 p.m. on the 31st in order to be counted.
One difference between the by-election compared to the general municipal election in 2020 will be the use of paper ballots as opposed to the use of vote tabulation equipment. This will be mainly due to the cost, as the vote tabulation equipment carries a cost of over $8,000, while the use of paper ballots for the by-election will be around $1,000.
After the meeting, several councillors shared their thoughts on the resignation of Michel.
“He’s devoted his entire life to Weyburn, and there’s nobody more proud of coming from Weyburn and the things that we’ve accomplished in this town, in the city,” said Councillor Mel Van Betuw. Having served on City Council for 10 years, he was the second most senior member of the council and is now the most tenured of the six. “He’s very proud of everything that he’s put into his work.”
“I considered myself very fortunate to overlap with him for as long as I did,” added Councillor Ryan Janke. “I mean his wealth of experience put him in a mentorship role,” Janke added that while he didn’t always agree with Michel, he felt he came away from a debate understanding things better. He also lauded Michel’s ability to have a constructive debate without taking it personally.
“Certainly are big shoes to fill, but I know there’s people in this community that are able to do it, and I encourage people to find out what council is all about, and if they’re interested to put their name forward and see if they can help fill some of those shoes,” added Van Betuw.
“Councillor Michel has invited a lot of guidance and leadership to this community for many, many years as seen and hear in the council meeting,” contributed Mayor Marcel Roy. “We really have to offer a lot of thanks to him for all his leadership and his work within the community.”
The coming by-election will be the first for Weyburn since 2011 when Winston Bailey was first elected to the council. He would serve until 2020 before opting to not seek re-election.