Calling all candidates: Registration open for 2022 municipal election in London

Candidates trickled into London, Ont. city hall Monday morning to register for this fall’s municipal election.

It was a stark contrast from four years ago when an early surge of candidates registered to run for a seat on council.

First to arrive was Sean O’Connell who is taking his second run at the mayor’s office, “I’m being proactive about things, you can’t just sit back and let things happen.”

O’Connell finished sixth in 2018 and says, “There’s a lot of issues going on in this city that need to be addressed and city council and the mayor have not been addressing them.”

There was a lot of interest leading up to the 2018 election because London became the first municipality in Ontario to use a ranked-choice ballot.

However, in 2020 the provincial government scrapped the option for municipality’s to use ranked ballots, so London is returning to its traditional one-choice ballot and first-past-the post election.

“Preparation has been underway for a year now,” explains Deputy City Clerk Sarah Corman. “We’ve been switching all of our communications materials, all our materials at the polls, so it’s been a big undertaking but we’re getting there.”

“This time I don’t want to be your second choice, I have to be your first choice!” says incumbent Ward 12 candidate Elizabeth Peloza as she arrived at the elections office.

“It’s not really going to change my campaigning going back to first-past-the-post from ranked ballots,” says incumbent Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis as he registered. “What will change for me this campaign is I’ll be running on my record as a candidate.”

Candidates for council must be at least 18 years old, own or rent property in London and collect 25 nomination signatures.

Candidates for school boards do not require nomination signatures.

Meanwhile, Londoners are being encouraged to confirm that they are on the Municipal Voters List, which is different from the provincial list.

Voters can drop off the municipal list if they have changed their marital status, changed their name, changed address or if they rent their residence.

Corman recommends checking VoterLookUp.ca.

“Things can change from election to election, you want to make sure your voting process is as smooth as possible,” she says.

Municipal candidates cannot start fundraising or incurring campaign expenses until after they have officially registered.

Peloza believes it’s important to get started as soon as possible.

“Starting right away behind the scenes with those conversations with neighbours and Londoners about what matters to them,” she says.

Candidates have until 2 p.m. on August 19 to register to run for council or mayor.

Londoners go to the polls Oct. 24.