39:2 Bill 231, Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010

Bentley, Hon Christopher Attorney General

Viewing: Royal Assent (current version) pdf

Bill 231                                                        2010

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finances Act

This Act amends or repeals more than one Act.  For the legislative history of these Acts, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History at www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Election Act

   1.  Section 1 of the Election Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“returning office” means an office of the returning officer; (“bureau électoral”)

   2.  The French version of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “bureau de vote” and substituting “emplacement de vote”.

   3.  (1)  Paragraph 1 of subsection 4.2 (2) of the Act is repealed.

   (2)  Subsection 4.2 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraphs:

  4.1  Subparagraph 2 ii of subsection 45.2 (4), subparagraph 3 ii of subsection 45.2 (5) and subparagraph 3 ii of subsection 45.2 (6).

  4.2  Clause 45.13 (4) (a).

   4.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Modifications to voting process

   4.4  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer may, in consultation with registered parties, direct that the voting process established by this Act be modified in accordance with this section.

Objectives

   (2)  The objectives of modifications under this section are:

    1.  Improving the voting process for electors.

    2.  Achieving administrative efficiencies.

    3.  Maintaining the integrity of the voting process.

Example

   (3)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the following is an example of the modifications this section permits the Chief Electoral Officer to make:

    1.  If one polling location includes two or more polling places, the returning officer may,

            i.  assign to one deputy returning officer or poll clerk the duties that this Act would otherwise assign to two people, and

           ii.  appoint additional deputy returning officers, poll clerks or both to assist electors in the voting process.

Exceptions

   (4)  The following matters shall not be modified under this section:

    1.  The requirement that there be both a deputy returning officer and a poll clerk at a polling location that includes only one polling place.

    2.  The rights and duties of scrutineers.

    3.  The requirement that each elector place his or her ballot in the ballot box of the elector’s polling place.

Same

   (5)  No requirement for accessibility under this Act, the Human Rights Code or the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 shall be modified under this section unless the effect of the modification is to maintain or increase the requirement.

Place of application

   (6)  The Chief Electoral Officer’s direction may apply to one or more electoral districts.

Content of direction

   (7)  The Chief Electoral Officer’s direction shall,

  (a)  identify the electoral district or districts to which it applies;

  (b)  specify the time period during which it applies;

   (c)  describe the modifications in detail; and

  (d)  refer to the provisions of this Act that will not be complied with and specify the nature and extent of non-compliance in each case.

Notice

   (8)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide notice of the direction in accordance with subsection (9) as soon as possible after the direction is made, and in any case before the close of nominations in any election to which it applies.

Same

   (9)  The direction shall be published on a website on the Internet and copies shall be provided,

  (a)  to the leader of each registered party; and

  (b)  to the returning officer for each electoral district to which the direction applies.

Validity of election

   (10)  An election held in accordance with this section is not invalid by reason of any non-compliance with this Act that is authorized by the direction.

Report

   (11)  When an election is conducted in accordance with a direction under this section, the Chief Electoral Officer shall,

  (a)  include an evaluation of the modifications made by the direction,

           (i)  in any report that the Chief Electoral Officer makes with respect to the election, or

          (ii)  in the next annual report made under section 114.3;

  (b)  publish the evaluation on a website on the Internet; and

   (c)  provide copies of the evaluation to the leader of each registered party.

   5.  Sections 7, 7.1 and 8 of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Returning Officers

Returning officers

   7.  (1)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint a returning officer for each electoral district on the recommendation of the Chief Electoral Officer.

Qualifications of R.O.

   (2)  A returning officer must be of voting age, a Canadian citizen and resident in Ontario.

Term of office

   (3)  The term of office of every returning officer who is in office on the day the Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010 receives Royal Assent, or is appointed or reappointed on or after that day but before the rollover date, ends on the rollover date.

Decennial rollover

   (4)  The following rules apply with respect to the terms of office of returning officers who are appointed or reappointed on or after the rollover date:

    1.  All terms of office that begin before the first decennial anniversary of the rollover date end on that first decennial anniversary of the rollover date.

    2.  All terms of office that begin on or after a given decennial anniversary of the rollover date but before the next decennial anniversary of the rollover date end on that next decennial anniversary of the rollover date.

Six-month extension

   (5)  Despite subsections (3) and (4), a returning officer’s term of office is extended for six months if it would otherwise end during the period that,

  (a)  in the case of a general election, begins when a writ is issued and ends three months after polling day;

  (b)  in the case of a by-election, begins when a warrant for the issue of a writ for the election is received by the Chief Electoral Officer and ends three months after polling day.

Oath or affirmation

   (6)  Before entering on his or her duties, every returning officer shall take the prescribed oath or affirmation.

Clerical and other assistance

   (7)  Subject to the direction of the Chief Electoral Officer, every returning officer shall provide for such clerical and other assistance as is necessary in the performance of his or her duties.

Powers and duties of R.O.

   (8)  A returning officer shall consult with, advise and supervise the deputy returning officers and poll clerks in the performance of their duties.

Same

   (9)  A returning officer or election clerk or any other delegate of the returning officer may visit and consult with the deputy returning officer and poll clerk at any polling location in the electoral district.

Instructions from C.E.O.

   (10)  A returning officer shall comply with any oral or written instruction received from the Chief Electoral Officer.

Removal from office

   (11)  The Chief Electoral Officer may remove from office any returning officer who, in the Chief Electoral Officer’s opinion, is unlikely to be able to discharge competently the returning officer’s duties under this Act.

Obstruction

   (12)  No person shall obstruct or interfere with the returning officer or his or her staff or hinder the exercise of their rights or the performance of their duties under this Act.

Definition

   (13)  In this section,

“rollover date” means December 31, 2013.

Election Clerk

Election clerk

   8.  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall appoint an election clerk for each electoral district, in consultation with the returning officer.

Qualifications

   (2)  An election clerk must be of voting age, a Canadian citizen and resident in Ontario.

Persons not to be appointed

   (3)  No person who is the returning officer’s child, grandchild, brother, sister, parent, grandparent or spouse shall be appointed as election clerk.

Oath or affirmation

   (4)  Before entering on his or her duties, the election clerk shall take the prescribed oath or affirmation.

Duties

   (5)  The election clerk shall assist the returning officer in the performance of his or her duties.

Same

   (6)  When the returning officer, during an election, dies, is disqualified or refuses or is unable to perform his or her duties, and has not been replaced, the election clerk shall act in his or her place as the returning officer if,

  (a)  the election clerk advises the Chief Electoral Officer that the election clerk is willing to act in the returning officer’s place; and

  (b)  the Chief Electoral Officer confirms the election clerk as acting returning officer.

Removal from office

   (7)  The Chief Electoral Officer may remove from office any election clerk who, in the Chief Electoral Officer’s opinion, is unlikely to be able to discharge competently the election clerk’s duties under this Act.

   6.  Subsection 10 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Where appointment superseded

   (4)  If a writ for an election has been issued to a person in whose stead a new returning officer has been appointed under subsection 4 (7) or under subsection 7 (1), a new writ may be issued or the new returning officer or the election clerk, if applicable, may act under the writ already issued and the validity of the proceedings prior to the new person acting may not be questioned but a new election clerk may be appointed under subsection 8 (1).

   7.  (1)  Subsection 13 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “and to section 14” and substituting “and to sections 13.1 and 14”.

   (2)  Subsection 13 (3.3) of the Act is amended by striking out “Nothing in subsection (3.1)” at the beginning and substituting “Nothing in subsection (3.1) or section 13.1”.

   (3)  The French version of subsection 13 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “bureau de vote” at the end and substituting “emplacement de vote”.

   (4)  The French version of subsection 13 (7) of the Act is amended by striking out “numéro de bureau de vote” at the end and substituting “numéro de section de vote”.

   8.  The Act is amended by adding the following section before the heading “Hospitals, Retirement Homes, Nursing Homes and Other Institutions”:

Accessibility

   13.1  (1)  In establishing the locations of polling places under section 13, the returning officer shall ensure that each polling place is accessible to electors with disabilities.

Application

   (2)  Subsection (3) applies only with respect to general elections held under subsection 9 (2).

Posting for comment

   (3)  The returning officer shall provide the following information to the Chief Electoral Officer, who shall publish it on a website on the Internet:

    1.  The proposed locations of polling places.

    2.  Details about steps that could be taken to ensure the accessibility of those locations.

    3.  An invitation to members of the public to comment, within one month after the posting, on whether the proposed locations are sufficiently accessible.

Time for posting

   (4)  The posting described in subsection (3) shall take place at least six months before polling day.

   9.  Section 14 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

C.E.O.’s direction re mobile poll

   (5)  At an election, the Chief Electoral Officer may direct that opportunities for voting on polling day in institutions referred to in subsection (1) that are located within the same electoral district be provided by means of a mobile poll rather than by means of a separate polling place in each institution.

Same

   (6)  The following rules apply to the Chief Electoral Officer’s direction:

    1.  It may apply to one or more electoral districts.

    2.  It may impose conditions on the use of mobile polls.  For example,

            i.  it may specify a maximum number of institutions that may be served by one mobile poll,

           ii.  it may specify a minimum time period during which a mobile poll must be available at each institution on polling day.

    3.  It may impose different conditions with respect to different electoral districts.

    4.  The Chief Electoral Officer may, but is not required to, publish the direction on a website on the Internet.

Duty of returning officer

   (7)  In implementing the Chief Electoral Officer’s direction, the returning officer of an electoral district to which the direction applies shall, no later than 14 days before polling day,

  (a)  prepare a notice that,

           (i)  refers to the direction,

          (ii)  identifies the institutions that will be served by a mobile poll, and

         (iii)  specifies the time period during which the mobile poll will be available at each institution;

  (b)  provide copies of the notice to,

           (i)  each candidate, and

          (ii)  the person in charge of each institution; and

   (c)  post the notice in each returning office for the information of the public.

Same

   (8)  The returning officer shall also take other reasonable steps that are likely to bring the notice to the attention of the electors resident in each institution.

Application of subss. (2), (3) and (4)

   (9)  Subsections (2), (3) and (4) apply to the mobile poll, with necessary modifications.

   10.  Section 15 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Temporary lodging place of post-secondary student

   (1.3)  Despite clause (1) (d), a person who is temporarily living away from his or her residence in order to attend a university, college of applied arts and technology or other post-secondary institution is entitled to vote,

  (a)  in the electoral district where he or she is temporarily living; or

  (b)  in the electoral district where his or her residence is located.

   11.  Section 17 of the Act is repealed.

   12.  (1)  Paragraph 5 of subsection 17.1 (4) of the Act is repealed.

   (2)  Section 17.1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Access by registration agents

   (4.3)  Registration agents who are carrying out research under paragraph 3 of subsection (4) by making personal visits to homes in a building with multiple dwelling units are entitled to free access to the entrance door of each dwelling unit, at all reasonable times and on producing proper identification.

Obstruction

   (4.4)  No person shall obstruct or interfere with the registration agents or hinder the exercise of their rights or the performance of their duties under this Act.

   13.  Paragraph 2 of subsection 17.1.2 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “an office of the returning officer” and substituting “a returning office”.

   14.  (1)  Paragraph 3 of subsection 17.14 (6) of the Act is repealed.

   (2)  Subsection 17.14 (7) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Application of s. 17.1 (4.3) and (4.4)

   (7)  Subsections 17.1 (4.3) and (4.4) apply, with necessary modifications, with respect to registration agents who are carrying out research under subparagraph 1 ii of subsection (6).

   15.  Section 18 of the Act is repealed.

   16.  (1)  Subsection 21 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “the application for a proxy certificate, addition of a name, the correction of an error or the deletion of a name” and substituting “the application for the addition or deletion of a name or the correction of an error”.

   (2)  Subsection 21 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Revising agents

   (3)  The returning officer may, subject to the approval of the Chief Electoral Officer, appoint two persons as revising agents for the purpose of adding to the list of electors the names of qualified electors of a particular area, section or building containing multiple dwelling units within the electoral district.

Application of s. 17.1 (4.3) and (4.4)

   (3.1)  Subsections 17.1 (4.3) and (4.4) apply, with necessary modifications, with respect to revising agents who are acting under subsection (3).

   17.  Subsection 24 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Election officials

   (2)  If an elector whose name appears on a polling list for the polling division where he or she resides has been appointed to act as a deputy returning officer, poll clerk or scrutineer at a polling place other than his or her own but in the same electoral district, an application may be made to the revising official for a certificate to vote at the other polling place.

   18.  Subsection 26 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “enumerator” and substituting “revising agent”.

   19.  (1)  Subsections 27 (5), (5.1) and (6) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Filing

   (5)  The nomination paper shall be handed to the returning officer.

   (2)  Subsection 27 (10) of the Act is amended by striking out “at his or her office”.

   20.  Subsection 30 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “his or her deposit is forfeited and” in the portion before clause (a).

   21.  Subsection 31 (2) of the Act is repealed. 

   22.  Subsections 39 (1) and (2) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Appointment of deputy returning officer and poll clerk

   (1)  The returning officer shall appoint a deputy returning officer and a poll clerk for each polling place, as soon as possible after the writ has been issued.

Rules

   (2)  The following rules apply to the appointment of deputy returning officers and poll clerks:

    1.  In the case of a general election, they shall be electors.

    2.  In the case of a by-election, they shall be electors, or persons who would be electors if an election were being held in their electoral district.

    3.  They shall not be candidates.

   23.  (1)  Subsection 44 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Regular general elections – 13 advance polling days

   (2)  In a general election under subsection 9 (2), advance polls shall be held,

  (a)  at a returning office on the 18th, 17th and 16th days before polling day, if the ballots described in section 34 have been printed;

  (b)  at a returning office on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th, ninth, eighth, seventh and sixth days before polling day; and

   (c)  at designated other locations as determined under subsection (2.1).

Same

   (2.1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall determine, in consultation with the returning officer, the dates and times when advance polls shall be open at designated other locations, subject to the following rules:

    1.  The hours during which advance polls are open at designated other locations may vary from one location to another.

    2.  During the 10-day period mentioned in clause (2) (b), at least one advance poll at a designated other location in the electoral district shall be open for some part of each day.

    3.  It is not necessary for a particular designated other location to have an advance poll that is open on all 10 days.

   (2)  Subsection 44 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Other elections – six advance polling days

   (3)  In a by-election and in a general election that is not held under subsection 9 (2), the following rules apply with respect to advance polls:

    1.  Subject to paragraph 4, advance polls shall be open on six days during the seven-day period that ends on the sixth day before polling day.

    2.  An advance poll must be open on the Saturday that falls during the seven-day period described in paragraph 1.

    3.  Advance polls shall be held,

            i.  at a returning office on the first three advance poll days,

           ii.  at a returning office on the last three advance poll days, and

          iii.  at designated other locations as determined under subsection (3.1).

    4.  The advance polls described in subparagraph 3 i need not be held if the ballots have not been printed.

Same

   (3.1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall determine, in consultation with the returning officer, the dates and times when advance polls shall be open at designated other locations, subject to the following rules:

    1.  The hours during which advance polls are open at designated other locations may vary from one location to another.

    2.  During the last three advance poll days, at least one advance poll at a designated other location in the electoral district shall be open for some part of each day.

    3.  It is not necessary for a particular designated other location to have an advance poll that is open on all of the last three advance poll days.

   (3)  Subsection 44 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “Subsections (2) and (3)” at the beginning and substituting “Subsections (2), (2.1), (3) and (3.1)”.

   (4)  Subsection 44 (6) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Time of poll

   (6)  Advance polls held at a returning office shall be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. or during such hours as are determined by the Chief Electoral Officer.

   (5)  Section 44 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

   (8)  The notice shall also be published on a website on the Internet.

   24.  (1)  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessible voting equipment, etc.

   44.1  (1)  At an election, accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment shall be made available in accordance with this section and in accordance with the Chief Electoral Officer’s direction under subsection (2).

Direction and notice

   (2)  Not later than 21 days before polling day, the Chief Electoral Officer shall,

  (a)  make a direction describing the accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment in detail and referring to the provisions of this Act that will not be complied with;

  (b)  provide copies of the direction to the leader of each registered party and to every candidate who has been nominated; and

   (c)  publish the direction on a website on the Internet.

Returning offices

   (3)  The accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment shall be made available in returning offices during the period that begins on the first day of advance polls and ends on the day before polling day, as follows:

    1.  The equipment shall be made available during advance polls that are held in returning offices.

General election

   (4)  At a general election, the accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment shall be made available in every electoral district.

Condition

   (5)  Despite subsection (1), accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment shall not be made available unless an entity that the Chief Electoral Officer considers to be an established independent authority on the subject of voting equipment and vote counting equipment has certified that the equipment meets acceptable security and integrity standards.

Rules

   (6)  The use of accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment under subsection (1) is subject to the following rules:

    1.  The equipment must allow the elector to vote privately and independently.

    2.  The equipment must not be part of or connected to an electronic network.

    3.  The equipment must be tested,

            i.  before the first elector uses the equipment to vote, and

           ii.  after the last elector uses the equipment to vote.

    4.  For the purpose of paragraph 3, testing includes, without limitation, logic and accuracy testing.

    5.  Voting by means of the equipment must not begin before the test conducted under subparagraph 3 i has been successfully completed, even if advance polls have already begun.

    6.  The information made available to the elector through the equipment before voting must comply with subsections 34 (2) and (3), with necessary modifications.

    7.  The equipment must create a paper ballot that records the vote cast, is retained in the same way as ordinary ballots and shows the name of the electoral district, the date of polling and the name of the printer.

    8.  The equipment must allow the elector to verify his or her vote, without the assistance of another person, before the paper ballot is printed.

    9.  The equipment or the process used must allow the elector to verify his or her vote after the paper ballot is printed but before casting his or her vote.

  10.  The equipment must have a feature which, if a ballot is unreadable or unmarked, brings the fact to the elector’s attention.  When this happens, the elector must be given another ballot or another opportunity to mark the first ballot.

Counting

   (7)  Votes that are cast at a returning office by means of accessible voting equipment shall be counted by the related vote counting equipment, subject to subsection (8).

Inconsistent tests

   (8)  If the tests conducted under subparagraphs 3 i and ii of subsection (6) are inconsistent, the returning officer shall immediately advise the Chief Electoral Officer, who may direct the returning officer to have the count conducted manually.

Report

   (9)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall include a report on the use of accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment at an election,

  (a)  in any report that the Chief Electoral Officer makes with respect to that election; or

  (b)  in the next annual report made under section 114.3.

Definition

   (10)  In this section,

“accessible voting equipment” means voting equipment that is accessible to persons with disabilities.

   (2)  Subsection 44.1 (3) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is amended by adding the following paragraph:

    2.  After the last day of advance polls, the equipment shall continue to be made available from the fifth day before polling day until the last day before polling day, for electors voting in person by special ballot at returning offices in their own electoral districts.

   25.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Use of alternative voting method

   44.2  (1)  At an election, if the following conditions are satisfied, the Chief Electoral Officer may direct that an alternative voting method, which may be an electronic voting method, be used:

    1.  The alternative voting method has been tested by being used at a by-election under section 4.1 and a report has been made to the Speaker of the Assembly under that section.

    2.  The Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that the alternative voting method protects the security and integrity of the election to a standard that is equivalent to the protection afforded by section 44.1.

    3.  The Chief Electoral Officer has consulted, with registered parties, with electors and with experts on the subject of voting methods, about the alternative voting method, the test under section 4.1 and its results.

    4.  The Chief Electoral Officer has recommended the use of the alternative voting method at the election.

    5.  The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly or another standing or select committee of the Assembly has held public hearings into the Chief Electoral Officer’s recommendation and approved it without modification.

Direction

   (2)  The Chief Electoral Officer’s direction shall,

  (a)  describe the alternative voting method in detail;

  (b)  refer to the provisions of this Act that will not be complied with, and specify the nature and extent of non-compliance in each case; and

   (c)  identify the day or days on which the alternative voting method will be available in the election.

Notice

   (3)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall,

  (a)  provide copies of the direction to the leader of each registered party and to every candidate who has been nominated; and

  (b)  publish the direction on a website on the Internet.

General election

   (4)  At a general election, the alternative voting method shall be made available in every electoral district.

Report

   (5)  When an alternative voting method is used at an election in accordance with this section, the Chief Electoral Officer shall include a report on the matter,

  (a)  in any report that the Chief Electoral Officer makes with respect to that election; or

  (b)  in the next annual report made under section 114.3.

   26.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Review and report re alternative voting technologies

   44.3  The Chief Electoral Officer shall conduct a review of alternative voting technologies, prepare a report of the review and, on or before June 30, 2013, submit the report to the Speaker of the Assembly.

   27.  Subsection 45 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “in the office of a returning officer” at the end and substituting “in a returning office”.

   28.  The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Special Ballots

Special ballot officers

   45.1  The Chief Electoral Officer shall appoint,

  (a)  one or more special ballot officers for each electoral district, in consultation with the returning officer; and

  (b)  one or more special ballot officers for the office of the Chief Electoral Officer.

Special ballot application

   45.2  (1)  An elector who wishes to vote by special ballot may make an application in any of the following ways:

    1.  In person, at a returning office in the elector’s electoral district.

    2.  By mail, courier or similar delivery method, fax or e-mail, to a returning office in the elector’s electoral district.

    3.  By mail, courier or similar delivery method, fax or e-mail, to the Chief Electoral Officer.

Elector’s electoral district

   (2)  In this section, a reference to an elector’s electoral district is a reference to,

  (a)  the electoral district where he or she resides;

  (b)  if subsection 15 (1.1) applies, the electoral district of his or her last Ontario residence;

   (c)  if subsection 15 (1.3) applies,

           (i)  the electoral district where the elector is temporarily living, or

          (ii)  the electoral district where his or her residence is located.

Form

   (3)  An application to vote by special ballot shall be in the form and contain the information prescribed by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Application in person

   (4)  The following rules apply when an elector makes an application in person at the returning office in the elector’s electoral district as described in paragraph 1 of subsection (1):

    1.  The elector may make an application to vote by special ballot during the period that begins on the 28th day before polling day and ends at 6 p.m. on the last day before polling day.

    2.  A special ballot officer shall approve the special ballot application if he or she has verified that,

            i.  the elector is a qualified elector in the electoral district,

           ii.  the elector has presented proof of his or her identity and place of residence in accordance with section 4.2, subject to paragraph 4, and

          iii.  the special ballot application is complete and has been signed by the elector.

    3.  On approving the special ballot application, the special ballot officer shall,

            i.  indicate, in the polling list to be supplied to the relevant deputy returning officer, that the elector is voting by special ballot,

           ii.  if the elector wishes to vote at that time, give the elector a write-in ballot or a printed ballot and allow him or her to vote in the same way as at an advance poll,

          iii.  if the elector does not wish to vote at that time, give the elector a special ballot kit to take away.

    4.  If the elector is named on the list of electors or the polling list and votes as described in subparagraph 3 ii,

            i.  the elector is not required to provide proof of his or her place of residence, and

           ii.  the elector may make the prescribed statutory declaration instead of providing proof of his or her identity.

Application by mail, etc., to returning office in elector’s electoral district

   (5)  The following rules apply when an elector makes an application by mail, courier or similar delivery method, fax or e-mail to a returning office in the elector’s electoral district as described in paragraph 2 of subsection (1):

    1.  The elector may make an application to vote by special ballot during the period that begins on the 28th day before polling day and ends at 6 p.m. on the sixth day before polling day.

    2.  The application must be received by 6 p.m. on the sixth day before polling day.

    3.  A special ballot officer shall approve the special ballot application if he or she has verified that,

            i.  the elector is a qualified elector in the electoral district,

           ii.  the elector has presented, in the application to vote by special ballot, proof of his or her identity and place of residence in accordance with section 4.2, and

          iii.  the special ballot application is complete and has been signed by the elector.

    4.  On approving the special ballot application, the special ballot officer shall,

            i.  indicate, in the polling list to be supplied to the relevant deputy returning officer, that the elector is voting by special ballot, and

           ii.  send a special ballot kit to the elector by mail.

Application by mail, etc., to Chief Electoral Officer

   (6)  The following rules apply when an elector makes an application by mail, courier or similar delivery method, fax or e-mail to the Chief Electoral Officer as described in paragraph 3 of subsection (1):

    1.  The elector may make an application to vote by special ballot during the period that begins on the 28th day before polling day and ends at 6 p.m. on the sixth day before polling day.

    2.  The application must be received by 6 p.m. on the sixth day before polling day.

    3.  A special ballot officer shall approve the special ballot application if he or she has verified that,

            i.  the elector is a qualified elector in the elector’s electoral district,

           ii.  the elector has presented, in the application to vote by special ballot, proof of his or her identity and place of residence in accordance with section 4.2, and

          iii.  the special ballot application is complete and has been signed by the elector.

    4.  On approving the special ballot application, the special ballot officer shall,

            i.  record the fact that the elector is voting by special ballot, and advise the returning officer in the elector’s electoral district of the fact, and

           ii.  send a special ballot kit to the elector by mail.

List of special ballot electors

Applications in electoral district

   45.3  (1)  Each day during the period that begins on the 28th day before polling day and ends at 6 p.m. on the last day before polling day, the special ballot officer in the returning office shall notify the returning officer of the names, addresses and polling division numbers of all electors whose applications to vote by special ballot are approved on that day.

Applications to Chief Electoral Officer

   (2)  On receiving notice under subparagraph 4 i of subsection 45.2 (6) that an elector is voting by special ballot, the returning officer shall record the elector’s name, address and polling division number.

Candidates

   (3)  On request, the returning officer shall provide to every candidate who has been nominated a list of electors with respect to whom the returning officer has received notice under subsection (1) or (2) up to the time the request is made.

Home visit

   45.4  (1)  At an election, an elector may make a request for a home visit to the returning officer in the electoral district where the elector resides if,

  (a)  it would be impossible or unreasonably difficult for the elector to attend at a returning office; and

  (b)  the elector needs assistance with making an application to vote by special ballot, because of a disability or because of inability to read or write.

Same

   (2)  The returning officer shall verify that the elector,

  (a)  satisfies the conditions set out in clauses (1) (a) and (b); and

  (b)  resides in the electoral district.

Same

   (3)  When the verification is complete, the returning officer shall arrange for two special ballot officers to visit the elector and assist him or her with making the application and, on request, with voting.

Place of visit

   (4)  The elector is entitled to have the home visit at any place in the electoral district that he or she specifies.

Application of s. 45.2 (4)

   (5)  Subsection 45.2 (4) applies to the home visit, application and voting, with necessary modifications.

Declaration on outer envelope

   (6)  If the elector is unable to sign the declaration on the sealed outer envelope as mentioned in clause 45.8 (d), one of the special ballot officers shall make a note on the envelope indicating that the elector voted at a home visit.

Elector to whom s. 15 (1.3) applies

   (7)  An elector to whom subsection 15 (1.3) applies may make a request for a home visit to the returning officer in the electoral district where the elector is temporarily living, whether the elector wishes to vote in that electoral district or in the electoral district where his or her residence is located, and subsections (1) to (6) apply with necessary modifications.

No reversion to regular voting process

   45.5  Once an elector’s application to vote by special ballot has been approved, he or she may vote only by special ballot.

Special ballot kit

   45.6  (1)  A special ballot kit shall contain,

  (a)  a write-in ballot;

  (b)  a copy of the list established under section 45.7, if it is available;

   (c)  a mailing envelope bearing the address,

           (i)  of a returning office in the elector’s electoral district, in the case of an application under subsection 45.2 (5),

          (ii)  of the Chief Electoral Officer, in the case of an application under subsection 45.2 (6);

  (d)  an outer envelope; and

  (e)  an inner envelope.

Same

   (2)  In the case of a general election, the special ballot kit shall contain only the part of the list that shows the candidates for the elector’s electoral district.

List of candidates

   45.7  (1)  As soon as possible after the close of nominations at an election, the Chief Electoral Officer shall establish a list of candidates, shown as nearly as possible in accordance with the rules in subsection 34 (2).

Same

   (2)  In the case of a general election, the list shall show the candidates for each electoral district.

Same

   (3)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide all special ballot officers with copies of the list.

Voting by means of special ballot kit

   45.8  An elector who wishes to vote by means of a special ballot kit shall,

  (a)  write on the ballot the given name and surname, or initials and surname, of the candidate for whom the elector is voting, and the candidate’s political affiliation if two or more candidates have the same name;

  (b)  place the ballot in the inner envelope and seal the inner envelope;

   (c)  place the sealed inner envelope in the outer envelope and seal the outer envelope;

  (d)  complete and sign the declaration on the sealed outer envelope;

  (e)  place the sealed outer envelope in the mailing envelope; and

    (f)  mail or deliver the mailing envelope,

           (i)  to the returning office in the elector’s electoral district, in the case of an application under subsection 45.2 (5),

          (ii)  to the Chief Electoral Officer, in the case of an application under subsection 45.2 (6).

Security instructions

   45.9  The Chief Electoral Officer shall prescribe,

  (a)  security instructions for the safekeeping of special ballots, inner envelopes, outer envelopes and all related election documents;

  (b)  instructions for the receiving, sorting and counting of special ballots.

Counting

   45.10  (1)  A special ballot shall be counted only if it is received in the returning office or by the Chief Electoral Officer by 6 p.m. on polling day.

Returning office

   (2)  The special ballot officers in every returning office are responsible for counting the special ballots that are received there.

Same

   (3)  The counting of special ballots in returning offices shall take place at the same time as the counting of regular ballots.

Office of C.E.O.

   (4)  The special ballot officers in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer are responsible for counting the special ballots that are received by the Chief Electoral Officer and shall communicate the results to the appropriate returning officers.

Same

   (5)  The counting of special ballots received by the Chief Electoral Officer shall begin on the date fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer or, if no date is fixed, on the fifth day before polling day.

Scrutineers

   (6)  Each registered party is entitled to appoint a sufficient number of scrutineers to be present at the counting of special ballots received by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Setting aside of special ballot

   45.11  (1)  The special ballot officers shall set aside an outer envelope unopened if,

  (a)  the information about the elector in the declaration on the outer envelope does not correspond with the information in the elector’s application to vote by special ballot;

  (b)  the declaration on the outer envelope is not signed;

   (c)  the correct electoral district of the elector whose ballot is contained in the outer envelope cannot be ascertained;

  (d)  the outer envelope was received in the returning office or by the Chief Electoral Officer after 6 p.m. on polling day; or

  (e)  the outer envelope relates to an electoral district for which the election was postponed in accordance with section 31.

Exception

   (2)  Clause (1) (b) does not apply if the special ballot was marked with assistance in a home visit under section 45.4.

Voting more than once

   (3)  If the special ballot officers ascertain that an elector has voted more than once, they shall set aside the outer envelopes that relate to the elector, unopened.

Disposition of outer envelopes that are set aside

   (4)  When an outer envelope is set aside unopened as described in subsection (1) or (3),

  (a)  a special ballot officer shall indicate in writing, on the outer envelope, why it has been set aside; and

  (b)  at least two special ballot officers shall initial the note.

Rejected ballot

   (5)  The special ballot contained in an outer envelope that is set aside as described in subsection (1) is deemed to be a rejected ballot.

Report

   (6)  After the election, the Chief Electoral Officer shall make a report about any envelopes that are set aside unopened under subsection (1) or (3) and shall,

  (a)  give notice of the report to the leader of each registered party; and

  (b)  publish the report on a website on the Internet.

Same

   (7)  The report described in subsection (6) shall be included,

  (a)  in any report that the Chief Electoral Officer makes with respect to the election; or

  (b)  in the next annual report made under section 114.3.

Application

   45.12  The provisions of this Act relating to secrecy of proceedings, voting procedures, counting of the ballots and the reporting of the results apply with necessary modifications to voting by special ballot.

Register of absentee electors

   45.13  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall establish and maintain a register of electors who are temporarily resident outside Ontario but entitled to vote in an electoral district in accordance with subsection 15 (1.1) or (1.2).

Effect of being named in register of absentee electors

   (2)  When the writ for an election is issued, the Chief Electoral Officer shall mail a special ballot kit to every elector who,

  (a)  is entitled to vote in the election; and

  (b)  is named in the register of absentee electors.

Application

   (3)  An application to be named in the register of absentee electors shall be in the form and contain the information prescribed by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Required information

   (4)  The application shall,

  (a)  include proof of the elector’s identity in accordance with section 4.2;

  (b)  set out,

           (i)  the elector’s name, sex and date of birth,

          (ii)  the date the elector left Ontario,

         (iii)  the address of the elector’s last place of residence before leaving Ontario,

         (iv)  the date, if known, on which the elector intends to resume residence in Ontario,

          (v)  the elector’s mailing address outside Ontario, and

         (vi)  any other information that the Chief Electoral Officer considers necessary to determine the elector’s entitlement to vote or the electoral district in which he or she may vote; and

   (c)  if an exception described in subsection 15 (1.2) applies to the elector, include proof of the fact.

Additional information for permanent register

   (5)  The Chief Electoral Officer may require the elector to provide, in addition to the information listed in subsection (4), any other information that the Chief Electoral Officer considers necessary for maintaining and updating the permanent register of electors.

Updating register of absentee electors

   (6)  The Chief Electoral Officer may require an elector who is named in the register of absentee electors to provide, within the time specified by the Chief Electoral Officer, any information that he or she considers necessary to update the register.

Restriction re change of address

   (7)  The mailing address outside Ontario that is shown for an elector in the register of absentee electors shall not be changed during the period that begins on the day a writ is issued for an election in the relevant electoral district and ends on polling day in that election.

Removal of name from register

   (8)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall remove an elector’s name from the register of absentee electors if,

  (a)  the elector does not provide the required information within the time specified under subsection (6);

  (b)  the elector sends the Chief Electoral Officer a signed request to remove the elector’s name;

   (c)  the elector dies and the Chief Electoral Officer receives a request to remove the elector’s name, accompanied by a death certificate or other documentary evidence of the death;

  (d)  the elector returns to reside in Ontario again; or

  (e)  the elector has resided outside Ontario for at least two consecutive years and subsection 15 (1.2) does not apply.

   29.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Training re needs of electors with disabilities

   55.0.1  Before the first advance poll in every election, every returning officer shall ensure that all electoral officers in the electoral district receive training in understanding the needs of electors with disabilities.

   30.  The Act is amended by adding the following section before the heading “Effect of Irregularities”:

Report

   67.2  (1)  After every election, the Chief Electoral Officer shall prepare a report that includes,

  (a)  a summary of,

           (i)  feedback received on the manner in which services are provided under this Act to persons with disabilities in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the regulations made under that Act, and

          (ii)  the response to the feedback, including any steps taken to respond to negative feedback;

  (b)  a summary of every report made under subsection 55.1 (1);

   (c)  in the case of a general election, the findings of the survey conducted under subsection 67.1 (1);

  (d)  a summary of measures taken at the election to address barriers to accessibility and other accessibility issues; and

  (e)  any recommendations with respect to barriers to accessibility and other accessibility issues that the Chief Electoral Officer considers appropriate.

Same

   (2)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall include the report described in subsection (1),

  (a)  in any report that the Chief Electoral Officer makes with respect to the election; or

  (b)  in the next annual report made under section 114.3.

   31.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Recount conducted manually

   74.1  A recount that is made from the actual ballots shall be conducted manually, even if the original count was done by vote counting equipment.

   32.  Section 91 of the Act is repealed.

   33.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Improper voting by special ballot, etc.

   91.  Every person who does any of the following is guilty of a corrupt practice and liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both:

    1.  Applying for a special ballot for reward or remuneration.

    2.  Agreeing to vote by special ballot for reward or remuneration.

    3.  Inducing or procuring any elector by undue influence to apply for a special ballot.

    4.  Having obtained a special ballot, knowingly attempting to vote at the election otherwise than by means of the special ballot.

   34.  Section 93 of the Act is amended by striking out “poll clerk or enumerator” and substituting “poll clerk, registration agent or revising agent”.

   35.  Section 112 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Fees payable to officers and other persons, etc.

   112.  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in an annual submission to the Board, establish the fees payable to officers and other persons, except those in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, for their services under this Act.

Board

   (2)  The Board may accept, reject or modify the fees established in the submission.

Estimated cost of next general election

   112.1  The annual submission under section 112 for the year of a general election under subsection 9 (2) shall also describe in detail the total estimated cost of that election.

Election disbursements

   112.2  The Chief Electoral Officer shall ensure that the procurement directives and guidelines applicable to the public service of Ontario are followed, as appropriate, for election disbursements.

   36.  Subsection 114.1 (3) of the Act is repealed.

   37.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessible format

   114.4  Every report, direction or notice that this Act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to publish shall be made available to persons with disabilities in a manner that takes their disabilities into account, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the regulations made under that Act.

   38.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Studies by C.E.O.

   114.5  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer may study methods of,

  (a)  improving the voting process; and

  (b)  facilitating voting by persons with disabilities.

Same

   (2)  The Chief Electoral Officer’s studies may be conducted by doing one or more of the following things:

    1.  Causing research to be carried out and reports to be written.

    2.  Establishing one or more advisory committees.

    3.  Causing one or more conferences to be held.

Studies to be made public

   (3)  The results of a study mentioned in subsection (1) shall be made public.

Repeal

   (4)  This section is repealed on December 31, 2015.

Election Finances Act

   39.  (1)  Subsection 16 (2) of the Election Finances Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Contributions over $25

   (2)  Money contributed to political parties, constituency associations, candidates or leadership contestants registered under this Act in amounts in excess of $25,

  (a)  shall not be contributed in the form of cash; and

  (b)  shall be contributed,

           (i)  in a manner that associates the contributor’s name and account with the payment, or

          (ii)  by a money order signed by the contributor.

   (2)  Section 16 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Certain contributions by estates

   (4)  An estate may make contributions to parties and constituency associations, and for the purposes of those contributions, a person and his or her estate are deemed to be one person.

   40.  Subsection 17 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “upon obtaining the contributor’s copy of the receipt issued under section 25 in respect of that contribution” and substituting “upon obtaining the contributor’s copy of the receipt issued under this Act, or cancelling the receipt and giving the contributor notice of the cancellation”.

   41.  The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Electronic database for recording contributions and issuing receipts

   25.1  (1)  Each registered party shall maintain an electronic database that,

  (a)  allows the chief financial officers of the party and of its registered constituency associations and registered candidates to record all contributions received; and

  (b)  allows the chief financial officer of the party to issue receipts generated from the electronic database.

Recording of contributions

   (2)  The chief financial officer of a registered party is responsible for ensuring that all contributions received by the party are recorded in the party’s electronic database.

Same

   (3)  The chief financial officer of a registered constituency association is responsible for ensuring that all contributions received by the association are recorded in the party’s electronic database.

Same

   (4)  The chief financial officer of a registered candidate who is not an independent candidate is responsible for ensuring that all contributions received by the candidate are recorded in the party’s electronic database.

Issuing of receipts

   (5)  The chief financial officer of a registered party is responsible for ensuring that receipts generated from the electronic database, whether in paper form or electronic form, are issued for all contributions received by the party and by its registered constituency associations and registered candidates.

Same

   (6)  The chief financial officers of registered constituency associations and registered candidates shall not issue receipts for contributions, and subsection 25 (1) and clause 33 (4) (c) do not apply to them.

Cancellation of receipts

   (7)  The chief financial officer of a registered party shall, immediately on receiving the Chief Electoral Officer’s request to do so, cease issuing receipts for contributions.

Application rules

   (8)  The following rules apply to a registered party on and after June 1, 2012:

    1.  The party must comply with subsection (1).

    2.  The chief financial officer of the party must comply with subsection (2).

    3.  The chief financial officers of the party’s registered constituency associations must comply with subsection (3).

    4.  The chief financial officers of the party’s registered candidates must comply with subsection (4).

    5.  The chief financial officer of the party must comply with subsection (5) in relation to contributions received on or after June 1, 2012.

    6.  Subsection (6) applies to the chief financial officers of the party’s registered constituency associations.

    7.  Subsection (6) applies to the chief financial officers of the party’s registered candidates.

    8.  Subsection (7) applies to the chief financial officer of the party.

Role of Chief Electoral Officer

Guidelines

   25.2  (1)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide such guidelines as he or she considers necessary for electronic databases that are maintained for the purposes of section 25.1.

Same

   (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the guidelines shall deal with ensuring that,

  (a)  the information in the electronic database is accurate;

  (b)  the chief financial officer of the registered party has the ability to verify the information in the electronic database; and

   (c)  the information in the electronic database is capable of being audited.

Publication

   (3)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the guidelines in The Ontario Gazette and on a website on the Internet.

Timing

   (4)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the first guidelines under subsection (3) on or before January 1, 2011.

Assessment

   (5)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall assess each electronic database that is maintained for the purposes of section 25.1 and, if satisfied that the electronic database complies with the guidelines and with this Act, shall approve it.

Approval

   (6)  The chief financial officer of a registered party shall ensure that,

  (a)  the party’s electronic database receives the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval before being launched; and

  (b)  any material changes to the party’s electronic database receive the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval before being launched.

Compliance

   (7)  The Chief Electoral Officer shall advise and work with the chief financial officers of registered parties to promote compliance with section 25.1 and with subsection (6) of this section.

Opting in before June 1, 2012

   25.3  If a political party is registered under this Act on June 1, 2011 or becomes registered under this Act on or before May 31, 2012, the chief financial officer of the party may opt for early compliance at any time during the period that begins on June 1, 2011 and ends on May 31, 2012, in accordance with the following rules:

    1.  The chief financial officer may give the Chief Electoral Officer written notice of one of the following:

            i.  the party, its registered constituency associations and its registered candidates will comply with section 25.1,

           ii.  the party and its registered constituency associations, but not its registered candidates, will comply with section 25.1,

          iii.  the party and its registered candidates, but not its registered constituency associations, will comply with section 25.1, or

          iv.  the party, but not its registered candidates and registered constituency associations, will comply with section 25.1.

    2.  If the chief financial officer gives a notice described in paragraph 1, 

            i.  the chief financial officer shall ensure that the party’s electronic database receives the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval before being launched, and

           ii.  on and after the effective date set out in the notice, the chief financial officer shall ensure that any material changes to the party’s electronic database receive the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval before being launched.

    3.  If the chief financial officer gives the notice described in subparagraph 1 i,

            i.  paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 of subsection 25.1 (8) apply on and after the effective date set out in the notice, and

           ii.  the chief financial officer must comply with subsection 25.1 (5) in relation to contributions received on or after the effective date.

    4.  If the chief financial officer gives the notice described in subparagraph 1 ii,

            i.  paragraph 1 of subsection 25.1 (8) applies on and after the effective date set out in the notice, except that the party’s electronic database need not allow the chief financial officers of registered candidates to record contributions,

           ii.  paragraphs 2, 3, 6 and 8 of subsection 25.1 (8) apply on and after the effective date set out in the notice, and

          iii.  the chief financial officer must comply with subsection 25.1 (5) in relation to contributions received by the party and by its registered constituency associations on or after the effective date.

    5.  If the chief financial officer gives the notice described in subparagraph 1 iii,

            i.  paragraph 1 of subsection 25.1 (8) applies on and after the effective date set out in the notice, except that the party’s electronic database need not allow the chief financial officers of registered constituency associations to record contributions,

           ii.  paragraphs 2, 4, 7 and 8 of subsection 25.1 (8) apply on and after the effective date set out in the notice, and

          iii.  the chief financial officer must comply with subsection 25.1 (5) in relation to contributions received by the party and by its registered candidates on or after the effective date.

    6.  If the chief financial officer gives the notice described in subparagraph 1 iv,

            i.  paragraph 1 of subsection 25.1 (8) applies on and after the effective date set out in the notice, except that the party’s electronic database need not allow the chief financial officers of registered constituency associations and registered candidates to record contributions,

           ii.  paragraphs 2 and 8 of subsection 25.1 (8) apply on and after the effective date set out in the notice, and

          iii.  the chief financial officer must comply with subsection 25.1 (5) in relation to contributions received by the party on or after the effective date.

Exemption, 50 per cent threshold

   25.4  (1)  Subsections (2) and (3) apply to a registered political party that has not, in the 2007 general election or in any subsequent general election, had official candidates in 50 per cent or more of Ontario’s electoral districts.

Same

   (2)  Section 25.1 does not apply in respect of the party unless the party’s chief financial officer opts for compliance under section 25.3 or under subsection (3) of this section.

Opting in on and after June 1, 2012

   (3)  The chief financial officer of the party may, at any time from June 1, 2012 onwards, opt for compliance by giving the Chief Electoral Officer written notice that the party will comply with section 25.1.

Loss of exemption

   25.5  On and after the first anniversary of polling day in any general election in which a registered political party has official candidates in 50 per cent or more of Ontario’s electoral districts for the first time,

  (a)  section 25.4 no longer applies to the party; and

  (b)  section 25.1 applies to the party.

   42.  The Act is amended by adding the following section before the heading “Campaign Advertising”:

Release of Election Surveys on Polling Day

Prohibition

   36.1  (1)  No person shall publish, broadcast or transmit to the public, in an electoral district on polling day before the close of all the polling stations in that electoral district, the results of an election survey that have not previously been made available to the public.

Extended application

   (2)  Subsection (1) also applies in respect of corporations, trade unions, political parties, constituency associations and third parties.

Definition

   (3)  In this section,

“election survey” means an opinion survey of how electors voted or will vote at an election or respecting an issue with which a political party or candidate is associated.

   43.  Section 37 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Non-application of section

   (7)  This section does not apply to an official website of a registered party, registered candidate or registered constituency association on the Internet.

   44.  Subsection 37.11 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Contributions over $25

   (1)  Money contributed to third parties registered under this Act in amounts in excess of $25 for the purpose of third party election advertising,

  (a)  shall not be contributed in the form of cash; and

  (b)  shall be contributed,

           (i)  in a manner that associates the contributor’s name and account with the payment, or

          (ii)  by a money order signed by the contributor.

   45.  Subsection 38 (3.2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Number of electors

   (3.2)  For the purposes of subsections (1) and (3), the number of electors is the greater of,

  (a)  the number of electors shown in the list of electors furnished to candidates under clause 19 (3) (c) of the Election Act; and

  (b)  the number of electors entitled to vote, as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer under the Election Act.

Commencement

   46.  (1)  Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Same

   (2)  Subsections 3 (2) and 24 (2) and sections 28 and 33 come into force on July 1, 2011.

Same

   (3)  Section 25 comes into force on January 1, 2012.

Short title

   47.  The short title of this Act is the Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 231 and does not form part of the law.  Bill 231 has been enacted as Chapter 7 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2010.

The Bill amends the Election Act and the Election Finances Act.

The following are some of the amendments to the Election Act.

Changes affecting the voting process:

    1.   The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to modify certain aspects of the voting process, in consultation with registered political parties, in order to,

            i.  improve the voting process for electors,

           ii.  achieve administrative efficiencies, and

          iii.  maintain the integrity of the voting process.

         The Chief Electoral Officer is required to provide advance notice of the modifications and to report on them afterwards.

    2.   The Chief Electoral Officer is required to make available accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment that allows electors with disabilities to mark their ballots independently without the assistance of other persons.  The use of equipment is permitted only if specified conditions and rules are satisfied.  The Chief Electoral Officer is required to provide advance notice of the use of equipment and to report on it afterwards.

    3.   Beginning on January 1, 2012, the Chief Electoral Officer may direct the use of an alternative voting method, which may be an electronic voting method, if the following conditions are satisfied:

            i.  the method has been tested by being used in a by-election under section 4.1,

           ii.  the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that the method protects the security and integrity of the election to a standard equivalent to the protection afforded by section 44.1 (the provision requiring accessible voting equipment),

          iii.  the Chief Electoral Officer has held consultations into the method,

          iv.  the Chief Electoral Officer recommends use of the method, and

           v.  a committee of the Assembly has approved the recommendation after holding public hearings.

    4.   The Chief Electoral Officer is also required to conduct a review of alternative voting technologies and submit a report of the review to the Speaker of the Assembly by June 30, 2013.

    5.   Returning officers are required to ensure that polling places are accessible to electors with disabilities.  In general elections held under subsection 9 (2) of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer is required to publish on a website on the Internet, at least six months before polling day, the proposed locations of polling places, with an invitation to comment.

    6.   Returning officers are required to ensure that all electoral officers in their electoral districts, before the first advance poll in every election, receive training in understanding the needs of electors with disabilities.

    7.   The Chief Electoral Officer is required to prepare a report, after every election, dealing with accessibility issues and how they were addressed at the election.

    8.   A special ballot procedure, available to all electors, is established.  Electors may apply in person or by mail, courier or similar delivery method, e-mail or fax, and may then vote by mail, or in person at returning offices in their own electoral districts.  Electors with disabilities may apply to have election officers make a home visit to assist with the special ballot application, and with voting if requested.

    9.   Voting by proxy is eliminated.

10.   The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to determine, in consultation with returning officers, the dates and times when advance polls operate in designated other locations during both general elections and by-elections.  The dates and times of advance polls in returning offices and the minimum number of advance polling days may not be changed.

11.   The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to direct that opportunities for voting in institutions such as retirement homes be provided by means of mobile polls serving two or more institutions.

Administrative changes:

12.   Returning officers, currently appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Chief Electoral Officer.  Current returning officer appointments will expire in 2013.  Subsequent appointments will expire every ten years thereafter.

13.   Election clerks, currently appointed by returning officers, will be appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer, in consultation with returning officers.

14.   Deputy returning officers and poll clerks, currently appointed from lists provided by two separate political interests, will be appointed at the discretion of returning officers.  To allow appropriate time for staff training, these appointments will be made as soon as possible after the writ has been issued.

15.   Currently, the Act provides that election fees and expenses are prescribed by regulation.  This is replaced by a system whereby the Chief Electoral Officer develops annual submissions to be considered by the Board of Internal Economy.  In the year of a scheduled general election, the submission includes an estimate of the cost of the election.  The Chief Electoral Officer is also required to follow Ontario government procurement directives and guidelines.

16.   To codify current practice, enumeration is eliminated.  Amendments are made to ensure that registration agents and revising agents will continue to have access to multi-dwelling buildings and not be obstructed or interfered with in the performance of their duties.

Other changes:

17.   Several candidate deposit and refund provisions that have been ruled constitutionally invalid are repealed.

18.   An obsolete provision concerning public education for the 2007 referendum on electoral reform is repealed.

19.   The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to study methods of improving the voting process and facilitating voting by persons with disabilities.  The studies may be conducted by commissioning research and reports, establishing advisory committees and holding conferences.

The following are some of the amendments to the Election Finances Act:

20.   Currently, the Act requires that contributions in excess of $25 be made by cheque, money order or individual credit card.  This is broadened so that new financial technologies may be used if the contributor’s name and account are associated with the payment.

21.   To codify existing practice, a provision is added to allow estates to make contributions to political parties and constituency associations, subject to applicable contribution limits for individual persons.

22.   Each registered party is required to maintain an electronic database to support the central electronic management of receipts for contributions.  This becomes mandatory on June 1, 2012 but parties may opt in, in whole or in part, before that date. The Chief Electoral Officer is required to provide guidelines, and his or her approval is needed before a database is launched or materially changed.  Registered parties that did not have official candidates in 50 per cent or more of Ontario’s electoral districts in the 2007 general election or in any subsequent general elections are exempted from the database requirement but may opt in.

23.   A prohibition is added against releasing, in an electoral district on polling day before polls close, the results of an election survey that were not previously released.

24.   The blackout provisions are amended to provide that they do not apply to the official websites of registered parties, candidates and constituency associations.

25.   Currently, campaign expense limits during an election are determined on the basis of the number of electors entitled to vote, as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer after the election.  This is amended so that the amount will be determined on the basis of that number or on the basis of the number of electors shown in the list given to candidates after the writ is issued, whichever is greater.

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