Three Election Organizations Working on the Maple Ridge Council Election

There’s a group working in the current municipal election campaign that’s trying to get the vote out, educate voters, and counter the impact of the slates on local politics.

There are three Maple Ridge voter organizations that will be active during the campaign period for the municipal elections this fall.

The best-known slate is Maple Ridge First, which is represented by outgoing councilors Judy Dueck, Ryan Svendsen, Chelsa Meadus and Mayor Mike Morden. Morden has yet to announce that he will run again, but he is listed as the primary official for Maple Ridge First.

A Better Maple Ridge is another voter organization registered with Elections BC. More information about this organization will be announced in the coming week.

A third electoral organization is Independent Maple Ridge (IMR). Their manager, Elliott Markillie, said their main goal was to attract more voters and make sure they were made aware of the issues.

“The Founders are Maple Ridge residents who are united in a common goal to ensure their community achieves free and fair elections this fall,” Markillie said, adding that the growing organization has 25 members.

He is interested in local government and sits on two municipal committees – tourism and economic development.

The longtime Maple Ridge resident says 2022 is the most important local election he’s seen.

“We are on the cusp of an era of transformation for Maple Ridge,” he said.

Turnout in the last election was just 34%, he noted, and that’s too low a number, according to Independent Maple Ridge (IMR). Even if there were 60,000 names on the voters list in 2018, just 6,000 votes would get someone elected to the council, Markillie pointed out.

He wants to see residents more engaged than that as the city grapples with significant issues. The main ones he sees are:

• Dependency and homelessness

• Infrastructure requests

• The local economy

• Green initiatives

• The style of local politics

Although he runs an electoral organization, Markillie said slates are not productive in local government and his group will support councilors working independently.

“We want to amplify independent voices in the community,” he said.

He said slates can help candidates get elected, to the detriment of independents, and he views the block voting they promote as a negative. He said the group mentality or “hive mind” of a slate drives them to agree to vote for each other, to campaign for each other, to agree not to compete for same roles and ultimately to exclude and oppose those who challenge them.

“This kind of group will stifle independent voices in the community,” he said. “The current board is not working well.”

Markillie has a two-month-old baby at home, so it’s a busy time that keeps her from running for council. In any case, he sees people he can support.

“If there were no good candidates in the running, I would think about it,” he said.

He noted that their group will be making announcements about which board candidates they endorse in the near future.

“We envision a bright future where the city council puts citizens first and makes Maple Ridge a freer, more prosperous community for everyone,” he said.

Independent Maple Ridge will be announcing community events soon.

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