NDP Education Critic says promotion of School Board elections “lacklustre”
With School Board elections set for Tuesday, NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael says she is appalled at the lack of promotion around the elections and the disorganized way information has been disseminated to the public.
“As an interested person wishing to vote, I had an incredibly difficult time before the last week or so even finding out what the zones were, let alone who the candidates are,” Michael said today.
“I can’t tell you how many people I have spoken to who are not even aware the election is happening. Promotion has been lacklustre at best.”
The Tuesday elections will replace the board appointed by the PC government in 2013. In the premier’s mandate letter to the Education Minister last December, the minister was instructed to ensure the elections were held within a year. While that has happened (with weeks to spare), Michael says there is a distinct air of the lack of planning that has plagued so many other government initiatives. Information has been very slow coming to the school board website; as an example, Michael says, exact zone boundaries weren’t available until long after nominations closed.
In St. John’s, she says, the written description of the zones uses electoral districts that no longer exist, and a by-street lookup is just a recent addition.
“The Minister of Education has apparently expressed disappointment about the low voter turnout in the past,” said Michael. “Under legislation, the elections are his responsibility. That includes ensuring the board has the resources it needs to conduct an open, accessible election.”