News / Edmonton

Edmonton's Ward 12 set to have crowded field in byelection

A record 24 candidates are looking to replace Amarjeet Sohi.

Amarjeet Sohi stepped down from the Ward 12 council seat after becoming an MP. The race to replace him has brought 24 candidates to the fore so far.

Metro File

Amarjeet Sohi stepped down from the Ward 12 council seat after becoming an MP. The race to replace him has brought 24 candidates to the fore so far.

The Ward 12 byelection is poised to break a city record with 24 candidates already looking to replace Amarjeet Sohi.

Sohi stepped down after winning the federal riding of Edmonton Mill Woods for the Liberal party last fall.

With nomination day still more than two weeks away, the city’s director of elections Laura Kennedy said 24 people have picked up information and registered their intent to run. She said the most candidates the city has had before was 18 in 2001 and 1994.

Kennedy said they are approaching the Feb. 22 election just like any other, but they are aware of the number of candidates and are making sure they can handle it.

“We have been working with our ballot provider to be able to accommodate the number of candidates,” she said.

Kennedy said the ballot could accommodate up to 39 people if absolutely necessary and they can always go to a longer form one as well. By-elections typically have low voter turnout, but Kennedy said that might change.

“I am hopeful that with this number of candidates running we will have a healthy voter turnout,” she said.  

Candidate Dan “Can Man” Johnstone said it’s a sign of a healthy democracy, but he also hopes candidates think long and hard about whether they’re committed to the race.

“We need serous candidates only who will be able to fill Amarjeet Sohi’s shoes,” he said.

He said he’s out already knocking on doors and getting to know people in the ward, which will be his strategy for the campaign.

Candidate Nav Kaur said she welcomes the challenge of this many candidates.

“I think it’s a marker of a wonderful democracy. I think it’s great experience. It’s a great opportunity for people to articulate their values.”

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