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B.C. Reg. 68/2011
126/2011
Deposited April 8, 2011
This consolidation is current to May 2, 2017.
Link to Point in Time

Referendum Act

HST (Harmonized Sales Tax)
Referendum Regulation

[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 93/2011, May 19, 2011]

Contents
Part 1 — Definitions
1Definitions
Part 2 — HST Referendum to be Conducted
2HST referendum to be conducted by mail-in ballot
3The question to be put on the ballot
4Voting in the referendum closes on July 22, 2011
5Elections BC responsible for administration of the referendum
Part 3 — Voting in the Referendum
6Who may vote in the referendum
7How to apply for a voting package
8How to update voter registration information in conjunction with referendum voting
9What is to be included in a voting package
10How to vote using the voting package
11How to arrange for replacement of a spoiled ballot
12Individuals needing assistance
Part 4 — Counting the Referendum Vote
13Initial review of return envelopes for referendum
14Consideration of certification envelopes accepted for opening
15Counting the votes — criteria for accepting or rejecting a ballot
16Who may be present at the counting proceedings
17Results of the referendum count
18Referendum materials to be retained for one year
Part 5 — Application of Election Act Provisions
19Application of Election Act provisions to the referendum
Schedule 1
Schedule 2

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1  In this regulation:

"ballot" means a ballot, in the form of the ballot in Schedule 1, that sets out the referendum question;

"chief electoral officer" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"close of voting" means the end of voting under section 4 [voting in the referendum closes on July 22, 2011];

"Elections BC" means the office administered by the chief electoral officer under the Election Act;

"electoral district" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"referendum" means the referendum conducted under this regulation;

"referendum official" means

(a) the chief electoral officer, or

(b) an individual appointed by the chief electoral officer to act as a referendum official;

"referendum official responsible" means, in relation to referendum proceedings, the referendum official assigned responsibility for those proceedings by or under this regulation;

"referendum question" means the question to be stated on the ballot for the referendum under section 3 [the question to be put on the ballot];

"registered" means, in relation to a voter, registered under Part 4 of the Election Act;

"resident" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"residential address" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"Speaker" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"voter" has the same meaning as in the Election Act;

"voting package" means the set of materials for the conduct of the referendum described in section 9 (1) [what is to be included in a voting package].

Part 2 — HST Referendum to be Conducted

HST referendum to be conducted by mail-in ballot

2  (1) A referendum, in accordance with the Referendum Act and this regulation, must be conducted in all electoral districts in British Columbia.

(2) The referendum must be conducted by the distribution of a voting package

(a) to each registered voter in British Columbia, and

(b) to each individual in British Columbia who

(i) is eligible to vote under section 6 [who may vote in the referendum], and

(ii) applies to Elections BC requesting a voting package in accordance with section 7 [how to apply for a voting package].

The question to be put on the ballot

3  (1) The question to be placed on the ballot for the referendum is the following:

Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)?

(2) The ballot for the referendum is to be in the form set out in Schedule 1 to this regulation.

Voting in the referendum closes on July 22, 2011

4  (1) Distribution of the voting packages must commence no later than June 13, 2011.

(2) The close of voting in the referendum is 4:30 p.m. local time on July 22, 2011.

(3) For a ballot to be considered, the certification envelope containing a marked ballot must

(a) be mailed or delivered to Elections BC or to a Service BC Centre, and

(b) be received by Elections BC or a Service BC Centre not later than the close of voting.

Elections BC responsible for administration of the referendum

5  (1) The chief electoral officer is responsible for

(a) arranging the preparation of the voting packages and other materials required for the conduct of the referendum, and

(b) conducting the referendum.

(2) The chief electoral officer must appoint those referendum officials and other persons the chief electoral officer considers necessary to conduct the referendum.

Part 3 — Voting in the Referendum

Who may vote in the referendum

6  In order to vote in the referendum, an individual must

(a) be a Canadian citizen,

(b) be 18 years of age or older on July 22, 2011,

(c) have been a resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months immediately before July 22, 2011,

(d) be registered as a voter in British Columbia, and

(e) not be disqualified by the Election Act or any other enactment from voting in the referendum or be otherwise disqualified by law.

How to apply for a voting package

7  (1) An individual who is not a registered voter in British Columbia may apply to Elections BC to register as a voter and request a voting package.

(2) An individual who is a registered voter in British Columbia, but did not receive a voting package, may apply to Elections BC to request the voting package.

(3) An application under subsection (1) or (2) may be made at any time between

(a) June 13, 2011, and

(b) midnight local time on July 8, 2011.

(4) Subject to section 11 [how to arrange for replacement of a spoiled ballot], an individual must not apply for more than one voting package.

How to update voter registration information
in conjunction with referendum voting

8  If a registered voter

(a) has changed the place where he or she is resident, or

(b) has changed his or her name,

the voter may apply to update his or her registration information in conjunction with the referendum voting by completing the change form provided on the certification envelope.

What is to be included in a voting package

9  (1) A voting package for the referendum must include all of the following:

(a) an outer envelope for shipping the voting package;

(b) a ballot;

(c) a secrecy envelope for the marked ballot;

(d) a certification envelope;

(e) instructions advising the voter on the procedure for marking the ballot and how the secrecy envelope and certification envelope are to be used;

(f) a postage-paid return envelope.

(2) Certification envelopes must be prepared as follows:

(a) with a space in which to record the full name, residential address and date of birth of the individual who is voting;

(b) with a printed declaration, to be signed by the individual who is voting, stating as follows:

"I declare that I am a registered voter and that I have not previously voted in this referendum.";

(c) with a space for change of name and change of residential address.

(3) If the chief electoral officer considers this advisable for the purpose of conducting the referendum, certification envelopes may request further information from the individual who is voting and may provide information for the voter respecting voting in the referendum.

How to vote using the voting package

10  To vote using a voting package, a voter must do the following:

(a) mark the ballot with a cross or tick in either the blank space marked "Yes" or the blank space marked "No" opposite the question;

(b) place the ballot in the secrecy envelope provided and seal the secrecy envelope;

(c) place the secrecy envelope in the certification envelope provided and seal the certification envelope;

(d) complete the certification envelope by

(i) providing the voter's full name, residential address and date of birth, and

(ii) signing the declaration printed on the certification envelope for this purpose;

(e) place the certification envelope in the return envelope provided;

(f) seal the return envelope;

(g) deliver the sealed return envelope containing the voting materials referred to in the previous paragraphs to

(i) Elections BC at the official address printed on the return envelope,

(ii) a Service BC Centre, or

(iii) another location designated by the chief electoral officer

so that it is received by 4:30 p.m. local time on July 22, 2011.

How to arrange for replacement of a spoiled ballot

11  (1) A voter who spoils a ballot before it is returned under section 10 (1) (g) [return of completed voting materials] may request a replacement voting package from Elections BC.

(2) If Elections BC issues a replacement voting package under this section, the referendum official responsible must

(a) instruct the voter on what is to be done with the spoiled ballot, and

(b) make a notation of the replacement on the record maintained for that purpose.

Individuals needing assistance

12  (1) Subject to this section, a voter who

(a) is unable to vote, or request a voting package, because of physical disability or difficulty with reading or writing, or

(b) requires the assistance of a translator to read the ballot and the instructions for voting

may be assisted by another individual.

(2) Except as permitted under subsection (3), an individual who provides assistance referred to in subsection (1) must not provide such assistance to more than one voter in the referendum.

(3) An individual may assist more than one member of the individual's family.

(4) An individual who is assisting under this section must

(a) preserve the secrecy of the ballot in accordance with section 90 of the Election Act as it applies to the referendum,

(b) mark the ballot in accordance with the directions of the voter, and

(c) refrain from attempting in any manner to influence the voter as to how the voter should vote.

(5) If a voter referred to in subsection (1) (a) is unable to sign the declaration on the certification envelope, the person assisting the voter must sign and provide the information required on the certification envelope.

(6) For the purposes of section 274 (1) [proof that an individual has voted] of the Election Act as it applies to the referendum, a notation under subsection (5) is considered to be the signature of an individual who is assisted in voting under this section.

(7) An individual must not provide assistance as a translator under this section unless the individual is able to make the translation and makes it to the best of his or her abilities.

(8) For certainty, an individual is not considered to have voted or to have applied for a voting package by providing assistance under this section.

Part 4 — Counting the Referendum Vote

Initial review of return envelopes for referendum

13  (1) A return envelope that is received as required by section 10 (1) (g) [return of completed voting materials] must be dealt with by the referendum official responsible as follows:

(a) on receipt, the referendum official must open the return envelope;

(b) the certification envelope must be considered in accordance with section 134 (1) of the Election Act, as it applies to the referendum, to determine whether the envelope must remain unopened and any ballot in it must not be considered on the count for the referendum.

(2) A return envelope that is not received as required by section 10 (1) (g) must be dealt with by the referendum official responsible as follows:

(a) on receipt, the referendum official must open the return envelope and record the date and time of receipt on the certification envelope;

(b) the certification envelope must remain unopened and must not be considered in the referendum.

Consideration of certification envelopes accepted for opening

14  (1) Subject to section 13, the certification envelopes must be opened one at a time and dealt with as follows:

(a) if a certification envelope contains more than one secrecy envelope,

(i) the secrecy envelopes must be resealed in the certification envelope,

(ii) the certification envelope must be marked as having been dealt with under this provision, and

(iii) the certification envelope must not be reopened and the secrecy envelopes must remain unopened and any ballots in them must not be considered or counted;

(b) if a certification envelope contains a ballot but no secrecy envelope, the referendum official responsible must place the ballot with other ballots to be counted, taking care to conceal any marking on the ballot from other individuals present;

(c) if a secrecy envelope is uniquely marked, or otherwise uniquely dealt with, in such a manner that the voter could reasonably be identified, the referendum official responsible must open the secrecy envelope, remove the ballot and place it with other ballots to be counted, taking care to conceal any marking on the secrecy envelope and ballot from other individuals present;

(d) if not otherwise dealt with under paragraphs (a) to (c), a secrecy envelope must be removed from its certification envelope for opening in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) The remaining secrecy envelopes referred to in subsection (1) (d) are to be opened one at a time and dealt with as follows:

(a) if a secrecy envelope contains more than one ballot,

(i) the ballots must be resealed in the secrecy envelope,

(ii) the secrecy envelope must be marked as having been dealt with under this provision, and

(iii) the secrecy envelope must not be reopened and the ballots in it must not be considered or counted;

(b) if a secrecy envelope contains only one ballot, the ballot must be placed with other ballots for counting.

Counting the votes — criteria for accepting or rejecting a ballot

15  (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), any of the following marks on a ballot is to be accepted and counted as a vote:

(a) a cross in or partly in either the blank space marked "Yes" or the blank space marked "No" opposite the question;

(b) a tick mark that is placed in the location referred to in paragraph (a);

(c) a mark other than one referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) that

(i) is placed in either location referred to in paragraph (a), and

(ii) clearly indicates the intention of the voter to vote on the question.

(2) Under any of the following circumstances a ballot must be rejected by the referendum official responsible:

(a) the ballot is marked as referred to in subsection (1) in both blank spaces opposite the question;

(b) there is no mark in either blank space opposite the question;

(c) the ballot does not clearly indicate the intention of the voter respecting the question;

(d) there is any mark or notation on the ballot other than as permitted by subsection (1);

(e) the ballot is uniquely marked, or has been otherwise uniquely dealt with, in such a manner that the voter could reasonably be identified;

(f) the ballot has been altered in any way by the voter, including, without limitation, by the amendment of the wording of the question and any written comments;

(g) the ballot physically differs from the ballots officially provided for the referendum.

Who may be present at the counting proceedings

16  The only individuals who may be present at a place where counting proceedings are being conducted are

(a) referendum officials, and

(b) individuals authorized to be present by the chief electoral officer.

Results of the referendum count

17  In addition to the requirement under section 3 [results to be announced] of the Referendum Act, the chief electoral officer must report the results of the referendum to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Referendum materials to be retained for one year

18  (1) The ballots, opened certification envelopes and unopened or resealed certification and secrecy envelopes must be retained by the chief electoral officer for one year after the close of voting.

(2) During the retention period under subsection (1), the ballots accounts for the referendum must be available for public inspection in the office of the chief electoral officer during its regular office hours.

(3) At the end of the retention period under subsection (1), the materials referred to in that subsection must be destroyed unless a court orders otherwise.

Part 5 — Application of Election Act Provisions

Application of Election Act provisions to the referendum

19  The provisions of the Election Act set out in Schedule 2 to this regulation apply in relation to the referendum with the changes provided by that Schedule.

Schedule 1

Form of Ballot for the Referendum


Schedule 2

[am. B.C. Reg. 93/2011.]

Provisions of the Election Act
That Apply in Relation to the HST Referendum

Application of Election Act provisions

1  The following provisions of the Election Act apply in relation to the referendum with the following changes:

(a) the provisions are to be read as being modified by deleting the text shown as struck out and by inserting the text shown as double-underlined;

(b) if an included provision refers to another included provision, the reference to the other provision is to that other provision as it is modified under paragraph (a);

(c) the definitions established by this regulation apply to those provisions.

Election Act Provisions

Time

2  (1) Times set under this Act, or the Referendum Act, in relation to the referendum are to be local times for the place at which the applicable proceedings under this Act are being conducted, unless otherwise expressly provided by this Act.

(2) If the time set under this Act or the Referendum Act for doing anything in relation to the referendum falls or ends on a holiday, the time is extended to the next day that is not a holiday.

General staff of the chief electoral officer

10  (3) The chief electoral officer may also retain, on a temporary basis, other persons necessary to enable the chief electoral officer to perform the duties of the office in relation to short term administrative matters, including the preparation for and conduct of the referendum. an election, enumeration or plebiscite.

(4) The Public Service Act does not apply to persons retained under subsection (3) and the chief electoral officer may establish their remuneration and the other terms and conditions of their retainers.

Individuals prohibited from being appointed as referendum officials

17  The following individuals must not be appointed, accept appointment or act as an election a referendum official:

(a) a member of the Legislative Assembly or of the Executive Council;

(c) a member of the House of Commons of Canada, of the Senate of Canada or of Her Majesty's Privy Council of Canada;

(d) a judge of the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court or the Provincial Court;

(e) a master, registrar, district registrar or deputy district registrar of the Supreme Court;

(f) an individual who has been convicted of an offence under this Act or the Recall and Initiative Act within the period of 7 years immediately before the appointment.

Oath of office

20  Before undertaking duties under this Act, the Referendum Act, an individual appointed as an election a referendum official must make a solemn declaration that the individual

(a) will faithfully and impartially fulfill the duties,

(b) has not received and will not accept any inducement to perform the duties otherwise than impartially and in accordance with this Act, the Referendum Act and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation, or to otherwise subvert the election, referendum, and

(c) will preserve the secrecy of the ballot in accordance with section 90.

Individuals disqualified from voting

30  Without limiting section 29 (f), section 6 (e) [who may vote] of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation, the following individuals are not entitled to vote in an election: the referendum:

(a) the chief electoral officer and the deputy chief electoral officer;

(c) an individual who is prohibited from voting under Part 12.

Who may register as a voter

31  (1) An individual must meet all the following qualifications in order to register as a voter:

(a) the individual must be a Canadian citizen;

(b) the individual must be an individual

(i) who is 18 years of age or older at the time of registration, or

(ii) if an election is in progress for the electoral district for which the individual will be entitled to vote on registration, who will be 18 years of age or older on general voting day for the election; at the close of voting for the referendum;

(c) the individual must have been a resident of British Columbia for the immediately preceding 6 months;

(d) the individual must not be disqualified from voting under section 29 (f). section 6 (e) [who may vote] of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation.

(2) An individual who is registered but who ceases to meet the qualifications referred to in subsection (1) is not entitled to continue to be registered.

Rules for determining where an individual is resident

32  (1) The following rules apply to determine, for the purposes of this Act and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation, the place where an individual is resident:

(a) an individual is a resident of the place where the individual lives and to which, whenever absent, the individual intends to return;

(b) an individual may be the resident of only one place at a time for the purposes of this Act and that regulation;

(c) an individual does not change the place where the individual is a resident until the individual has a new place where the individual is a resident;

(d) an individual does not cease being a resident of a place by leaving the place for temporary purposes only.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1) (d), a temporary purpose within the meaning of that subsection includes being absent from British Columbia

(a) while the individual is engaged in the service of the government of British Columbia or Canada,

(b) as the spouse of an individual referred to in paragraph (a), or

(c) as an individual who is in a child-parent relationship with an individual referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) and who is accompanying that individual for this reason.

(3) As an exception to subsection (1), if for the purposes of attending an educational institution an individual establishes a new place where the individual is a resident that is away from the usual place where the individual is a resident, the individual may choose for the purposes of this Act and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation either the usual place or the new place as the place where the individual is a resident.

(4) As an exception to subsection (1), an individual who is imprisoned in a penal institution is not by that imprisonment a resident of the place where the penal institution is located, but instead is deemed for the purposes of this Act and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation to be a resident of whichever of the following the individual chooses:

(a) the place where the individual was a resident before being imprisoned;

(b) the place where a spouse, parent or dependant of the individual is a resident within the meaning of subsection (1).

(5) Temporary residential quarters are considered to be an individual's place of residence only if the individual has no other place that the individual considers to be his or her residence.

(6) For the purposes of this Act and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation, an individual who has no dwelling place may register as a voter on the basis that the individual's place of residence is a shelter, hostel or similar institution that provides food, lodging or other social services.

Each individual may vote only once in the referendum

89  An individual must not vote more than once in the same general election or by-election. the referendum.

Voting to be by secret ballot

90  (1) Voting at an election in the referendum must be by secret ballot.

(2) Each individual present at a place at which a voter exercises the right to vote, including individuals present to vote, and each individual present at the counting of the vote must preserve the secrecy of the ballot and, in particular, must not do any of the following:

(a) interfere with an individual who is marking a ballot;

(b) attempt to discover how an individual voted;

(c) communicate information regarding how another individual voted or marked a ballot;

(d) induce an individual, directly or indirectly, to show the ballot in a way that reveals how the individual voted.

(3) A voter may not be required in any legal proceedings to reveal how he or she voted in an election. the referendum.

Consideration of certification envelopes

134  (1) A certification envelope must remain unopened and any ballot in it must not be considered on the final count for the referendum under Part 4 [Counting the Referendum Vote] of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation if one or more of the following applies:

(a) the envelope is not completed as required under this Act; that regulation;

(b) the individual identified on the envelope as using the envelope to vote is not the individual to whom the envelope was issued;

(c) the individual identified on the envelope as using the envelope to vote is not entitled to vote in the election; referendum;

(d) the individual identified on the envelope as using the envelope to vote appears to be voting more than once in the election. referendum.

(2) If a certification envelope is to remain unopened under subsection (1), the election referendum official responsible must mark this on the envelope, together with the applicable reason.

Penalties under this Part are in addition to any others

251  Any penalty under this Part is in addition to and not in place of any other penalty to which an individual or organization may be liable under this Act or the Referendum Act in respect of the same matter.

Prosecution of offences

252  (1) A prosecution for an offence under this Act or the Referendum Act may not be commenced without the approval of the chief electoral officer.

(1.1) If the chief electoral officer is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an individual or organization has contravened this Act, the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation, the chief electoral officer may refer the matter to the Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General for a determination of whether to approve prosecution.

(2) The time limit for laying an information respecting an offence under this Act or the Referendum Act is one year after the facts on which the information is based first came to the knowledge of the chief electoral officer.

(3) A document purporting to have been issued by the chief electoral officer, certifying the day on which the chief electoral officer became aware of the facts on which an information is based, is admissible without proof of the signature or official character of the individual appearing to have signed the document and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof of the matter certified.

Prosecution of organizations and their directors and agents

253  (1) An act or thing done or omitted by an officer, director, employee or agent of an organization within the scope of the individual's authority to act on behalf of the organization is deemed to be an act or thing done or omitted by the organization.

(2) If an organization commits an offence under this Act or the Referendum Act, an officer, director, employee or agent of the organization who authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the offence commits the same offence, whether or not the organization is convicted of the offence.

(3) A prosecution for an offence under this Act or the Referendum Act may be brought against an unincorporated organization in the name of the organization and, for the purposes of the prosecution, the unincorporated organization is deemed to be a person.

Defence of due diligence

254  An individual or organization is not guilty of an offence under this Act or the Referendum Act if the individual or organization exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

Vote buying

255  (1) An individual or organization must not pay, give, lend or procure inducement for any of the following purposes:

(a) to induce an individual to vote or refrain from voting in the referendum;

(b) to induce an individual to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate or a candidate for a particular political party; a specific response to the referendum question;

(c) to reward an individual for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b).

(2) An individual must not accept inducement

(a) to vote or refrain from voting in the referendum,

(b) to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate or a candidate for a particular political party, a specific response to the referendum question, or

(c) as a reward for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b).

(3) An individual or organization must not advance, pay or otherwise provide inducement, or cause inducement to be provided, knowing or with the intent that it is to be used for any of the acts prohibited by this section.

(4) An individual or organization must not offer, agree or promise to do anything otherwise prohibited by this section.

(5) An individual or organization prohibited from doing something by this section must not do the prohibited act directly, indirectly or by another individual or organization on behalf of the individual or organization who is subject to the prohibition.

(7) An individual or organization who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable to one or more of the following penalties:

(a) a fine of not more than $20 000;

(b) imprisonment for a term not longer than 2 years;

Intimidation

256  (1) An individual or organization must not intimidate an individual for any of the following purposes:

(a) to persuade or compel an individual to vote or refrain from voting in the referendum;

(b) to persuade or compel an individual to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate or a candidate for a particular political party; a specific response to the referendum question;

(c) to punish an individual for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b).

(2) An individual or organization must not, by abduction, duress or fraudulent means, do any of the following:

(a) impede, prevent or otherwise interfere with an individual's right to vote;

(b) compel, persuade or otherwise cause an individual to vote or refrain from voting in the referendum;

(c) compel, persuade or otherwise cause an individual to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate or for a candidate of a particular political party. for or against a specific response to the referendum question.

(3) An individual or organization prohibited from doing something by this section must not do the prohibited act directly, indirectly or by another individual or organization on behalf of the individual or organization who is subject to the prohibition.

(4) An individual or organization who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable to one or more of the penalties referred to in section 255 (7).

Corrupt voting

257  (1) An individual who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) votes in an election the referendum when not entitled to do so;

(b) contravenes section 89 regarding voting more than once in an election; the referendum;

(c) contravenes section 105 (3) section 7 (4) of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation by applying for more than one alternative absentee voting package;

(d) contravenes section 109 (6) section 12 (4) (b) of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation by failing to mark a ballot in accordance with the directions of the voter being assisted;

(e) obtains a ballot in the name of another individual, whether the name is of a living or dead individual or of a fictitious individual.

(2) An individual who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to one or more of the penalties referred to in section 255 (7).

Offences in relation to ballots and other referendum materials

260  (1) An individual or organization who does any of the following without authority under this Act the Referendum Act commits an offence:

(a) supplies a ballot to an individual or organization;

(b) prints or reproduces a ballot or a paper that is capable of being used as a ballot;

(e) destroys, takes, opens or otherwise interferes with a ballot paper, ballot, or certification envelope, ballot box or voting book.

(2) An individual or organization who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to a fine of not more than $10 000 or imprisonment for a term not longer than one year, or both.

Offences in relation to voting and counting proceedings

261  (1) An individual or organization who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) contravenes section 90 (2) regarding the secrecy of the ballot;

(b) is present at a place where voting or counting proceedings are being conducted without being authorized under this Act the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation to be present;

(2) An individual or organization who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to a fine of not more than $10 000 or imprisonment for a term not longer than one year, or both.

Offences in relation to false or misleading information

266  (1) An individual or organization who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) provides false or misleading information when required or authorized under this Act or the Referendum Act to provide information;

(b) makes a false or misleading statement or declaration when required under this Act or the Referendum Act to make a statement or declaration.

(3) An individual or organization is not guilty of an offence under this section if, at the time the information was given or the statement or declaration was made, the individual or organization did not know that it was false or misleading and, with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that it was false or misleading.

(4) An individual or organization who commits an offence under this section is liable to a fine of not more than $20 000 or imprisonment for a term not longer than 2 years, or both.

Proof that an individual has voted

274  (1) The signature of an individual in a voting book indicating that the individual applied for a ballot on a certification envelope under the declaration referred to in section 9 (2) (b) [voter declaration on certification envelope] of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation is proof for the purposes of this Act the referendum that the individual has voted.

Access to and use of information in records

275  (1) If a record is available for public inspection in the office of an election official or voter registration official, subject to this section a member of the public may obtain a copy of the record on payment of the reasonable costs of reproduction.

Investigations and audits by chief electoral officer

276  (1) The chief electoral officer

(c) may conduct investigations of any matter that might constitute a contravention of this Act or a regulation under this Act. the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation.

Complaints regarding contraventions

277  (1) If the chief electoral officer receives a complaint alleging that this Act or a regulation under this Act the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation has been contravened, the chief electoral officer must consider whether to investigate the matter.

(2) The chief electoral officer must refuse to investigate a complaint that in the view of the chief electoral officer appears to be frivolous, vexatious or obviously unfounded.

(3) If a complaint is made in writing and the chief electoral officer decides not to conduct an investigation, the chief electoral officer must notify the complainant in writing of the reasons for the decision.

Enforcement by court injunction

279  (1) On application of the chief electoral officer, the Supreme Court may grant an injunction as follows:

(a) the court may grant an injunction restraining an individual or organization from contravening this Act the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual or organization has contravened or is likely to contravene this Act; that Act or regulation;

(b) the court may grant an injunction requiring an individual or organization to comply with this Act the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual or organization has not complied or is likely not to comply with this Act. that Act or regulation.

(2) An order under subsection (1) may be made without notice to others if it is necessary to do so in order to protect the public interest.

(3) A contravention of this Act the Referendum Act or the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) Referendum Regulation may be restrained under subsection (1) whether or not a penalty or other remedy has been provided by this Act. under that Act.

Emergencies and other extraordinary circumstances

280  (1) The chief electoral officer may, by specific or general order, make exceptions to this Act and the regulations under this Act, the Referendum Act or a regulation under either Act in accordance with the purposes of this Act or the Referendum Act if, in the opinion of the chief electoral officer, this is necessary because of an emergency, a mistake or extraordinary circumstances in relation to proceedings under this Act. in relation to the referendum.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the chief electoral officer may make orders extending a time period or establishing a new date in place of one set under this Act or the Referendum Act and giving any other direction the chief electoral officer considers appropriate in relation to this.

(3) If an order is made under this section, the report of the chief electoral officer to the Legislative Assembly under section 13 must include a report on the order and the circumstances under which it was made.

[Provisions relevant to the enactment of this regulation: Referendum Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 400, section 6]