New Brunswick

Elections New Brunswick puts the call out for candidates

​Municipal elections are more than four months away, but Elections New Brunswick is already trying to generate interest in the hundreds of positions that will be up for grabs.

While vacancies on local councils, boards have decreased, acclamations remain high

Municipal elections will be held on May 11. (Shane Magee/CBC)

​Municipal elections are more than four months away, but Elections New Brunswick is already trying to generate interest in the hundreds of positions that will be up for grabs.

It's better for democracy if people have choices at the polls, says Kim Poffenroth, the chief electoral officer.

Elections New Brunswick has put a greater focus on attracting candidates in recent elections, and it shows, she said.

While she couldn't estimate how many people have been persuaded to run, the number of vacancies, or offices that no one has sought, has fallen.

But even with that success, there's still more work to be done.

"There's still a huge number of acclamations, which from my perspective is also not good for, you know, democracy," said Poffenroth. 

"It's better for the electors if there's a full diverse field of candidates on the ballot when they go to vote."

This year, there will be elections for 104 mayor positions and 542 councillor positions in municipalities around the province.

There will also be elections for district education councils and regional health boards. 

Elections New Brunswick is looking to hold open houses throughout the province ahead of the May 11 elections to explain the process and answer questions.

'I think every New Brunswicker has something valuable to add,' said New Brunswick's chief electoral officer, Kim Poffenroth. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

On Monday, Poffenroth was in Sussex speaking to, hopefully, potential candidates.

She said many people are intimidated by running for office because they don't believe they can "run" a municipality.

But this is a misconception, she said, since municipalities have managers and other staff to run things. Elected officials generally look at the big picture. 

"They're not responsible for the day-to-day operations," said Poffenroth. 

"They don't have to know how to run a municipality or how to run a school per se. It's about that overall strategic direction for those organizations. And I think every New Brunswicker has something valuable to add."

Candidate nominations will open on March 23 and close at 2 p.m. on April 9.

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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