Election - Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Voter Information - Frequently Asked Questions

The information provided below is intended to address questions commonly raised by candidates, election officials and the general public in previous general local elections.  
Disclaimer
The questions and answers below have been provided as general reference and while all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the answers, they are not a substitute for provincial legislation.

Please refer directly to the latest consolidation of provincial statutes at BC Laws (www.bclaws.ca) for specific election-related provisions and requirements within the Local Government Act, Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, School Act, or Vancouver Charter


When are general local elections held?
General local elections are held every four years.
The next general local election is November 15, 2014. Voting places are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time.

What jurisdictions hold elections?
General local elections and by-elections are held by:

  • Municipalities (Mayor and Councillors);
  • Regional districts (Electoral Area Directors);
  • Boards of education (School Trustees);
  • Islands Trust (Islands Trust Trustees);
  • Local community commissions (Commissioners); and,
  • Park boards (Commissioners).

Who runs local elections?
Each jurisdiction (municipality, regional district, school district, Islands Trust, local community commission and park board) is responsible for running its own election.
Each jurisdiction appoints a local Chief Election Officer who is responsible for conducting the election in accordance with the local election bylaws, and the:

  • Local Government Act
  • Local Elections Campaign Financing Act
  • Community Charter
  • School Act
  • Vancouver Charter (as applicable)
  • Offence Act

A local government may also run school trustee elections on behalf of a board of education.


Who do I ask questions about the election process? 
Contact a local Chief Election Officer - they are likely the most familiar with the specific circumstances in your community.

Contact the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Advisory Services at 250 387-4020 or visit the Ministry election home page for answers to questions about local election administration.

Where can I find information about School District Trustee elections? 
The School District #45 Trustee Election is administered through the District of West Vancouver. For further information please contact their Election Office via telephone at 604-925-7045, via e-mail at election@westvancouver.ca or visit their website at www.westvancouver.ca 

What is the local Chief Election Officer's role in local elections?

The local Chief Election Officer is responsible for conducting by-elections and general elections in accordance with the Local Government Act, the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, the Community Charter, the School Act, the Vancouver Charter, the Offence Act and the local government election bylaw. 

The local Chief Election Officer is responsible for overseeing all local election administration activities such as declaring candidates, setting up voting opportunities, counting votes and declaring the election results. The local Chief Election Officer is also responsible for training the Deputy Chief Election Officer, Presiding Election Officials and any additional election officials required to conduct the local government election.

The local Chief Election Officer also works with Elections BC to monitor compliance with election advertising regulations, and may assist Elections BC to address incidents of non-compliance.

Local Chief Election Officers are not responsible for the conduct of candidates, and do not investigate alleged election offences or administer penalties. 
 

What is Election BCs role in local elections?

Elections BC is a non-partisan, independent Office of the Legislature that is responsible for managing campaign financing disclosure requirements, investigations, and enforcing the campaign financing and election advertising provisions set out in the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

Elections BC provides information and advice about election advertising, campaign financing and third party sponsors. Contact Elections BC at: in Victoria call: 250 387-5305; Elsewhere in B.C. call: 1 855 952-0280; Email address: electoral.finance@elections.bc.ca; Website: www.elections.bc.ca for more information about its role in local elections.

Who declares the election results and where can I find the results? 
The official election results may not necessarily be announced on general voting day - the local Chief Election Officer may announce preliminary results after concluding the ballot count on general voting day and announce the official results at a later date.

November 19, 2014 is the deadline for declaring the official election results in the 2014 general local election.

Most local governments post election results on their websites and election results are also posted on the CivicInfoBC website at www.civicinfo.bc.ca

Who enforces general local election rules?
The police are responsible for investigating alleged election offences, and the Courts are responsible for adjudicating allegations, making decisions and imposing penalties under the Local Government Act.

The local Chief Election Officer has the authority to enforce election rules, such as the challenge of a candidate's nomination or elector eligibility, and to maintain order at voting places such as the prohibition of campaign activity within 100 metres of a voting place on voting day. Election officials also have the authority to challenge an elector's ability to vote on the basis that they are not entitled to vote or that they accepted an inducement to vote.

Elections BC is a non-partisan, independent Office of the Legislature that is responsible for managing campaign financing disclosure requirements, investigations, and enforcing the campaign financing, and election advertising provisions set out in the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

Contact Elections BC at: in Victoria call: 250 387-5305; Elsewhere in B.C. call: 1 855 952-0280; Email address: electoral.finance@elections.bc.ca; Website: www.elections.bc.ca for more information about its role in local elections.

What can I do if I believe someone has committed an election offence? 
Contact your local police if you believe someone has committed an election offence. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation and recommending to Crown counsel whether charges should be laid. Election offences are prosecuted through the judicial system.

The local government Chief Election Officer does not investigate alleged election offences.

Contact Elections BC at: in Victoria call: 250 387-5305; Elsewhere in B.C. call: 1 855 952-0280; Email address: electoral.finance@elections.bc.ca; Website: www.elections.bc.ca if you believe someone has committed an election campaign financing offense.
Voter Questions

Voter Eligibility

Am I eligible to vote?
You are eligible to vote in a local election as a resident elector if you: 
•    are 18 years of age or older when you register to vote or will be 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
•    are a Canadian citizen;
•    have been a resident of British Columbia for at least six months before you register to vote; 
•    have lived in the jurisdiction where you intend to vote for at least 30 days before you register to vote; and, 
•    are not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or are otherwise disqualified by law.
You are eligible to vote as a non-resident property elector if you: 
•    are 18 years of age or older when you register to vote or will be 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
•    are a Canadian citizen;
•    have been a resident of British Columbia for at least six months before you register to vote; 
•    have owned property in the jurisdiction in which you intend to vote for at least 30 days before registering to vote; and,
•    are not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or are otherwise disqualified by law.

Who cannot vote in a local election?

You cannot vote in a local election (as either a resident elector or a non-resident property elector) when you: 
•    have been convicted of an indictable offence and are in custody; or, 
•    have been found guilty of an election offence, such as intimidation or vote-buying; or, 
•    do not otherwise meet voter eligibility requirements.


I live on a First Nations reserve. Can I vote in a local government election?
Yes. Eligible electors living on reserve can vote.

Where you vote depends on whether the reserve is located within a municipal or regional district jurisdiction. Contact the appropriate municipality or regional district to determine where you can vote.

I live in one local government jurisdiction, and I own property in another - can I vote in both jurisdictions? 
Yes.You may vote in the jurisdiction where you live when you qualify as a resident elector.

You are also eligible to vote as a non-resident property elector in another jurisdiction when you have owned the property in the other jurisdiction for at least 30 days before registering to vote.

I own more than one property - can I vote more than once?
You may vote only once as a non-resident property elector when you own two or more properties within one jurisdiction. 
You may vote in multiple jurisdictions when you have owned property within each jurisdiction for at least 30 days before registering to vote. 

I own property with another person and neither of us lives on the property - can both of us vote?
No. Only one non-resident property elector may vote per property. When you own a property with another person(s), the majority of owners must designate - in writing - one owner to vote as the non-resident property elector for that property. 

No one is eligible to vote in relation to property owned through or in conjunction with a corporation.

I own property with another person and we both live on the property - can both of us vote?
You may both vote as resident electors if you meet the voter eligibility requirements.

I own property in B.C. and live in a different province or country - can I vote?
No. You must be a resident of British Columbia for at least six months before you register to vote.

I live in one jurisdiction and attend school in a different one - can I vote in both places?
No. You can only vote in one jurisdiction when you live away from your usual place of residence to attend an educational institution. You may choose to vote either where you attend school or your usual place of residence.

I live in one jurisdiction and work for extended periods of time in a different one - can I vote in both places?
No. You can only vote in one jurisdiction when you live away from your usual place of residence and work for extended periods of time in another jurisdiction. You must vote in the jurisdiction where you maintain your usual place of residence.

I own a company - do I get an extra vote in a local election?
No. There is no corporate or business vote in local government elections.

Voting rights are granted to citizens on the basis of residency or property ownership. This means you cannot vote on behalf of a corporation or business, and you cannot vote as a non-resident property elector on behalf of a property owned wholly or in part by a corporation.


Am I allowed to look at the voter's list? 
Yes. You can view the voter's list at the local government office during regular office hours if the local government is using a voter's list.

You can view the list between September 30 and November 15 for the 2014 general local election. You must sign a statement saying that you will not inspect or use the information on the voter's list except for the purposes of the election.

You are only entitled to receive a copy of the voter's list if you are a candidate in a local election.

What can I do if I think someone on the voter's list is not eligible to vote?
You may only object to a person's name appearing on the voter's list if you are a qualified elector, and if the person whose name appears on the list has died or is not qualified to be an elector.

You must submit a written, signed objection to the local Chief Election Officer before 4:00 p.m. local time on Friday, October 10, 2014.

The person against whom the objection was made will be notified (if possible) by the local Chief Election Officer and given a chance to provide evidence that he or she is an eligible elector and therefore entitled to be on the voter's list.

Can I have my personal information removed from the voter's list?
Yes. You can request that your name, address, or any other information be removed or obscured from the voter's list that is available for public inspection and for use by candidates.

Your name will remain on the voter's list used at all voting opportunities held by the local government.

Contact the local Chief Election Officer where you intend to vote to request that your name, address or any other information be removed or obscured from the voter's list.

Voting


How do I register to vote?
Provincial Voters List: some local governments use the provincial voter's list from the most recent provincial election. You are already registered to vote in a general local election if the local government uses the provincial voter's list and your name appears on it. You are not required to show identification to receive a ballot in a general local election if your name appears on the provincial voter's list.

Voter's List: Our local government offers advance voter registration,  the voter's list.

Same Day Registration: you can also register to vote at a voting place. You must provide two pieces of identification proving who you are and where you live. One of the pieces of identification must also include your signature. You must also provide the address or legal description and the title (or other proof of ownership) of the property you are registering to vote in relation to if you are registering as a non-resident property elector. If you own the property with other people, you need their written consent to vote on their behalf.

Can I register to vote on voting day?
Yes. You will be required to provide two pieces of identification proving who you are and where you live. One of the pieces of identification must also include your signature. You can make what is called a solemn declaration as to your place of residence if your identification does not show your residential address. The voting clerk will have the form you need to make the declaration.

You must also provide the address or legal description and the title (or other proof of ownership) of the property you own if you are registering as a non-resident property elector. If you own the property with other people, you need their written consent to vote on their behalf.

Contact the appropriate local government for information about whether or not identification is required and what type of identification (e.g. driver's license, social insurance card) will be accepted.

I won't be here on general voting day. How can I vote?
Every local government must have at least one advance voting opportunity on the Wednesday 10 days before general voting day. The required advance voting day is November 5, 2014 for the 2014 general local election.

Many local governments have more than one advance voting opportunity. Contact your local government for details of advance voting or to find out if your local government offers mail ballot voting.

Can I vote by mail?
Some local governments allow for mail ballot voting when electors cannot physically attend a voting place or will be out of town on advance and general voting days. Contact your local government to see if mail ballot voting is available.

Can I vote on the Internet?
No. The legislation does not allow for voting via the Internet.

Can I vote by telephone?
No. The legislation does not allow for voting by telephone.

How will I know where to vote?
Your local government is required to publish notices of voting places in the local newspaper.

You can also visit the local government website or contact your municipal, regional district, board of education or Islands Trust office.

How do I mark the ballot?
There will be instructions at the voting place explaining how to mark the ballot.

Can I have a translator help me vote?
Yes. The person translating for you must sign a solemn declaration before providing any assistance. Speak to the presiding election official at the voting place for further information.

Can I take someone into the voting booth to help me?
Yes. All jurisdictions are required to make voting places as accessible as reasonably possible. You may: 
•    ask a local election official to bring you a ballot if you can travel to a voting place and find it difficult to get into the building or room where voting is taking place (this is called "curb-side" voting);
•    ask a local election official, friend or relative to help you if you are unable to mark your own ballot. The person providing assistance to another elector must sign a solemn declaration before providing assistance; or, 
•    bring someone to assist you if you need a translator. The translator must be capable of making a solemn declaration that they can and will make the translation to the best of their ability. The local election official may allow you to have a person in the booth with you if you are caring for someone (e.g. a child or elderly relative) at the time you cast your ballot.
Speak to the presiding election official at the voting place for further information. 
Am I allowed to assist someone to vote who has a physical disability or other difficulty?
Yes. You must sign a written statement and a solemn declaration in order to assist someone to vote. Speak to the presiding election official at the voting place for further information.

 

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