Chief returning officer searching for ways to boost voter turnout
NTI election nominations open next week
Prospective candidates for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.'s elections may now start searching for the 10 people they need to sign their nomination papers.
Nominations for the top posts of president and vice-president of finance open Tuesday, Feb. 5. They close Feb. 15. Nunavut land claim beneficiaries head to the polls March 18, with an advance poll on March 11.
Adamee Itorcheak, chief returning officer for the elections, is already working the phones, lining up local return officers and voting places.
"We've got so much work to do getting things in place," he said.
That includes buying media ads and getting on local radio stations to get the word out. It's time consuming, Itorcheak said, "but that's what it takes."
He's also trying to figure out ways to reverse the low voter turnout that has typically plagued NTI elections in past years.
"It's always been a problem," he said. "There's no magic answer."
Itorcheak has considered getting people into Nunavut's schools to drum up the youth vote. Beneficiaries as young as 16 may vote, but youth typically turn out to the polls in low numbers.
And Itorcheak points out it's not just NTI that struggles with voter turnout: municipal, territorial and federal elections do too.
"There's a lot of apathy about politics," he said.
Eligible candidates must be Canadian citizens, 16 years old, and land claim beneficiaries. Nomination papers must be signed by 10 eligible voters and filed by 5 p.m., Feb. 19. Candidates may withdraw their nominations by 5 p.m., Feb. 22.
Nomination forms are available from Itorcheak's office in Building 157 in Iqaluit, from community liaison officers or at www.tunngavik.com.
Two likely candidates are the incumbents.
President Paul Kaludjak will run again, but wasn't giving any hints about his platform before nominations opened.
"My plan is to submit the nomination on the opening day. Then I'll be free to talk about what you want to know then," he said.
Raymond Ningeocheak, NTI's vice-president of finance and longest-serving board member, will also re-offer. He's been on the board, first as second vice-president, since 1993.