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This Act is current to November 1, 2017
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Election Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 106

Part 9 — Registration of Political Parties and Constituency Associations

Division 1 — Registration

Benefits of registration

154  (1) A political party must be registered in order to

(a) be identified on a ballot,

(b) issue tax receipts, or

(c) incur election expenses.

(2) A constituency association must be registered in order to

(a) issue tax receipts, or

(b) incur election expenses.

(3) If the registration of a political party or constituency association is suspended under this Act,

(a) during the period of the suspension the organization must not do anything otherwise authorized by subsection (1) or (2), and

(b) despite subsection (1), after the suspension is ended, the organization must not issue tax receipts in relation to political contributions received by the organization during the period of the suspension.

(4) A political party or constituency association that is not registered, or an individual or organization acting on behalf of such an organization, must not do anything authorized by subsection (1) or (2) for a registered organization.

Registration of a political party

155  (1) For the purposes of this Act, a political party is an organization that has as a primary purpose the fielding of candidates for election to the Legislative Assembly.

(2) In order to be registered, a political party must

(a) file with the chief electoral officer a completed application in accordance with this section,

(b) have a financial agent appointed in accordance with section 176,

(c) have an auditor appointed in accordance with section 179, and

(d) not be prohibited under section 156 or 174 from registering.

(3) An application for registration must be signed by 2 principal officers of the political party and must include the following:

(a) the full name of the political party;

(b) the usual name of the political party, if this is different from the full name, and any abbreviations, acronyms or other names used by the political party;

(c) the name, abbreviation or acronym by which the political party proposes to be identified on ballot papers;

(d) the name of the leader of the political party;

(e) the address of the place or places where records of the political party are maintained;

(f) the address to which and the name of the person to whom communications to the political party may be addressed;

(g) the names and mailing addresses of the principal officers of the political party;

(h) the name and address of the auditor of the political party and a copy of the appointment and consent of the auditor under section 179;

(i) the name and address of the financial agent of the political party and a copy of the appointment and consent of that individual under section 176;

(j) the names and addresses of the savings institutions to be used by the political party as referred to in section 177 (2) (b) and the account numbers;

(k) the names of the signing officers of the political party responsible for each account used by the political party as referred to in section 177 (2) (b);

(l) a statement of the assets and liabilities of the political party as of a date not earlier than 90 days before the date the application is submitted to the chief electoral officer;

(m) a signed statement, of the financial agent of the political party, verifying the accuracy of the statement submitted under paragraph (l);

(n) a signed statement of a principal officer of the organization that it has as a primary purpose the fielding of candidates for election to the Legislative Assembly and any additional evidence necessary to satisfy the chief electoral officer of this;

(o) any other information required to be included by regulation.

(4) The chief electoral officer may require an application for registration under this section to be in a form specified by the chief electoral officer.

Prohibitions regarding political party names and other identifications

156  (1) A political party must not be registered if any of the forms of identification referred to in section 155 (3) (a) to (c)

(a) includes the word "independent" or "non-affiliated" or, in the opinion of the chief electoral officer, could otherwise reasonably indicate that a candidate representing the party is not affiliated with a party, or

(b) includes any matter that is prohibited by section 86 (1) from being included on a ballot.

(2) A political party must not be registered if, in the opinion of the chief electoral officer, any of the forms of identification referred to in section 155 (3) (a) to (c) is likely to be confused with such a form of identification for another political party

(a) that is currently registered,

(b) that has an earlier application for registration pending before the chief electoral officer, or

(c) that was registered at any time during the previous 10 years.

(3) During the 10 years after this section comes into force, a political party must not be registered if, in the opinion of the chief electoral officer, any of the forms of identification referred to in section 155 (3) (a) to (c) is likely to be confused with such a form of identification for another political party

(a) that was represented in the Legislative Assembly during the 10 years before the application was made, or

(b) whose name appeared on a ballot paper at any time during the 10 years before the application was made.

Registration of a constituency association

157  (1) For the purposes of this Act, a constituency association is an organization that is formed for an electoral district

(a) as the local organization of a registered political party or a political party that is currently applying for registration, or

(b) as a local organization to support an individual who is an independent member of the Legislative Assembly for the electoral district.

(2) In order to be registered, a constituency association must

(a) file with the chief electoral officer a completed application in accordance with this section,

(b) have a financial agent appointed in accordance with section 176,

(c) have an auditor appointed in accordance with section 179, and

(d) not be prohibited under section 174 from registering.

(3) An application for registration must be signed by 2 principal officers of the constituency association and must include the following:

(a) the full name of the constituency association;

(b) as applicable, the name of the registered political party of which the constituency association is the local organization or the independent member of the Legislative Assembly that it is formed to support;

(c) the address of the place or places where records of the constituency association are maintained;

(d) the address to which and the name of the person to whom communications to the constituency association may be addressed;

(e) the names and mailing addresses of the principal officers of the constituency association;

(f) the name and address of the auditor of the constituency association and a copy of the appointment and consent of the auditor under section 179;

(g) the name and address of the financial agent of the constituency association and a copy of the appointment and consent of that individual under section 176;

(h) the names and addresses of the savings institutions to be used by the constituency association as referred to in section 177 (2) (b) and the account numbers;

(i) the names of the signing officers of the constituency association responsible for each account used by the constituency association as referred to in section 177 (2) (b);

(j) as applicable,

(i) a statement signed by a principal officer of the registered political party that the constituency association is the local organization of the political party, or

(ii) a statement signed by the independent member of the Legislative Assembly supported by the constituency association that the member endorses the application;

(k) a statement of the assets and liabilities of the constituency association as of a date not earlier than 90 days before the date the application is submitted to the chief electoral officer;

(l) a signed statement, of the financial agent of the constituency association, verifying the accuracy of the statement of the assets and liabilities of the constituency association submitted under paragraph (k);

(m) any other information required to be included by regulation.

(4) If an application under this section is made in conjunction with an application for registration for a political party, the constituency association must not be registered until after the political party is registered and, for the purposes of the time limits under section 158 (2), the application of the constituency association is deemed to have been received on the date the political party is registered.

(5) A registered political party or independent member of the Legislative Assembly may not have more than one registered constituency association for an electoral district, but a registered constituency association may have one or more branches within the electoral district.

(6) As an exception to subsection (5), if an enactment has been made establishing new electoral districts but the enactment does not come into force until a future time,

(a) a constituency association of a registered political party may be registered for a future electoral district even if this means that the political party has registered constituency associations for both the existing and future electoral districts, and

(b) a constituency association may be registered for a future electoral district to support the election of an individual who is an independent member of the Legislative Assembly for an existing electoral district as the member for the future electoral district, even if this means that the member is supported by registered constituency associations for both the existing and future electoral districts, so long as at least some part of the existing electoral district is the same as at least some part of the future electoral district.

(7) The chief electoral officer may require an application for registration under this section to be in a form specified by the chief electoral officer.

Processing of applications for registration

158  (1) The chief electoral officer must review each application for registration that is received to determine whether the political party or constituency association meets the requirements for registration.

(2) The determination under subsection (1) must be completed as follows:

(a) within 30 days after the application is received, unless paragraph (b) or (c) applies;

(b) if an election is called after the application is received but before the determination is completed, within 30 days after general voting day for the election;

(c) if the application is received after an election is called but before 30 days after general voting day for the election, the determination must not be completed until after general voting day but must be completed within 60 days after general voting day.

(3) If the applicant organization meets the requirements for registration, the chief electoral officer must

(a) register the organization in a register maintained by the chief electoral officer for this purpose,

(b) notify the political party or constituency association of the date on which it was registered under paragraph (a), and

(c) have notice of the registration published in the Gazette.

(4) The chief electoral officer

(a) may require the applicant organization to provide any additional information or evidence the chief electoral officer considers necessary to make the determination under subsection (1), and

(b) has the absolute discretion to determine if a political party or constituency association applying for registration is the same as one that was previously registered or is new.

(5) If the applicant organization does not meet the requirements for registration, the chief electoral officer must notify the organization in writing of the reasons for this.

(6) An organization whose application does not meet the requirements for registration may amend its application but, if the requirements for registration are not met within 30 days of its receipt of a notice under subsection (5), the application ceases to be effective.

Changes in registration information

159  (1) If there is any change in the information referred to in section 155 (3) for a registered political party or section 157 (3) for a registered constituency association, the organization must file with the chief electoral officer notice of the change within 60 days after it occurs.

(2) Notice under subsection (1) must be in writing and must be made as follows:

(a) in the case of a registered political party, the notice must be signed by 2 principal officers of the party;

(b) in the case of a registered constituency association, the notice must be signed

(i) by 2 principal officers of the constituency association, and

(ii) as applicable, by a principal officer of the registered political party of which it is the local organization or by the independent member of the Legislative Assembly that it supports.

(3) On being satisfied that a notice under subsection (2) is authorized by the organization for which it is made, the chief electoral officer must amend the register to reflect the change.

(4) On request by the chief electoral officer, a registered political party or registered constituency association must provide any information or evidence the chief electoral officer considers necessary to confirm that the information referred to in subsection (1) currently filed with the chief electoral officer is correct.

(5) The chief electoral officer may suspend the registration of a political party or constituency association if the political party or constituency association does not file notice of a change in accordance with subsection (1), and the suspension continues until the notice is filed in accordance with subsection (2).

Changes in political party name or form of identification

160  (1) As a limit on the authority of a registered political party to change a form of identification referred to in section 155 (3) (a) to (c), the political party may make the change but only after receiving the approval of the chief electoral officer.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the political party must apply to the chief electoral officer as provided in section 159 (2) and sections 156 and 158 apply.

Authority of principal officers

161  Where this Act requires or authorizes an action by a principal officer of a registered political party or registered constituency association, the only individuals authorized to take that action are individuals who are

(a) in fact principal officers of the organization, and

(b) identified as such in the current documents filed by the organization under this Part with the chief electoral officer or identified in documents of the organization being filed at that time under section 159.

Registers and other information to be open to the public

162  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the registers under this Part and the information filed under this Act with the chief electoral officer by a political party or constituency association since the general election before the previous general election must be available for public inspection at the office of the chief electoral officer during its regular office hours.

(2) The information available for public inspection under subsection (1) must not include the account numbers required under section 155 (3) (j) or 157 (3) (h), as applicable.

Division 2 — Deregistration and Suspension

How an organization may be deregistered

163  A political party or constituency association may be deregistered as follows:

(a) by voluntary deregistration under section 164;

(b) in the case of a constituency association, by deregistration under section 165 on the request of its registered political party or independent member of the Legislative Assembly;

(c) in the case of a constituency association, by automatic deregistration under section 166;

(d) in the case of a political party, by automatic deregistration under section 168 for failure to field candidates;

(e) by deregistration under Division 7 of Part 10 for failure to comply with that Part.

Voluntary deregistration

164  (1) A registered political party or registered constituency association may apply to the chief electoral officer for deregistration in accordance with this section.

(2) As an exception, an organization may not apply for deregistration under this section if it is subject to deregistration or suspension because

(a) it has not filed reports, or its candidates have not filed reports, in accordance with Part 10,

(b) it has election expenses greater than the amount permitted by Part 10, or

(c) it has not yet paid an applicable penalty under section 218 in relation to election expenses.

(3) An application for deregistration must be in writing and must be made as follows:

(a) in the case of a registered political party, the application must be signed by 2 principal officers of the party;

(b) in the case of a registered constituency association, the application must be signed

(i) by 2 principal officers of the constituency association, and

(ii) as applicable, by a principal officer of the registered political party of which it is the local organization or by the independent member of the Legislative Assembly that it supports.

(4) On being satisfied that an application for deregistration is authorized by the organization for which it is made, the chief electoral officer must deregister the organization.

(5) As a limit on subsection (4), if a political party applying to be deregistered is represented by a candidate in an election in progress, the chief electoral officer must not deregister the political party until after general voting day for the election.

Deregistration of constituency association on request of its political party or MLA

165  (1) The registered political party of which a registered constituency association is its local organization, or the independent member of the Legislative Assembly supported by a registered constituency association, may apply to the chief electoral officer for deregistration of the constituency association in accordance with this section.

(2) As an exception, a political party or independent member may not apply for deregistration under this section if the constituency association is subject to deregistration because it has not filed reports in accordance with Part 10.

(3) The political party or independent member must notify the constituency association before applying for deregistration under this section.

(4) An application for deregistration must be in writing and must be made as follows:

(a) in the case of an application by a registered political party, the application must be signed by 2 principal officers of the party;

(b) in the case of an application by an independent member, the application must be signed by the member.

(5) On being satisfied that an application for deregistration is authorized by the registered political party or independent member for which it is made, the chief electoral officer must deregister the constituency association.

Automatic deregistration of constituency associations

166  (1) If a political party is deregistered, the chief electoral officer must deregister all its registered constituency associations, effective the date on which the political party is deregistered.

(2) If an electoral district is disestablished, the chief electoral officer must deregister all constituency associations for the electoral district.

(3) The chief electoral officer must deregister the constituency association of an independent member of the Legislative Assembly if the individual ceases to be a member of the Legislative Assembly or becomes a representative of a political party.

(4) After a general election is called, a registered constituency association in an electoral district for an individual who was an independent member of the Legislative Assembly at the time the election was called is entitled to remain registered until

(a) the end of the nomination period, if the individual is not at that time an independent candidate in the electoral district election, or

(b) the date for the return of the writ for the electoral district election, if the individual is an independent candidate in that election but is not re-elected.

(5) The chief electoral officer must deregister a constituency association referred to in subsection (4) after the applicable time under that subsection.

Automatic suspension of constituency associations

167  If the registration of a political party is suspended, registration of all its registered constituency associations is suspended, effective the date on which the political party is suspended.

Automatic deregistration of political party for failure to run candidates

168  (1) The chief electoral officer must deregister a political party following a general election if, for that general election and the immediately preceding general election, it was not represented by at least 2 candidates in one of the general elections.

(2) As an exception to subsection (1), a political party that would otherwise be deregistered under that subsection is entitled to remain registered if a candidate representing it in the current general election is elected.

(3) If, at the end of the nomination period for a general election, a political party may be subject to deregistration under this section following the election, the chief electoral officer must notify the political party of this.

(4) Deregistration under this section is effective on the date of the return of the last of the writs for the general election.

Notice of deregistration or suspension

169  (1) The chief electoral officer must specify and record in the register the effective date of the deregistration or suspension of a political party or constituency association.

(2) The chief electoral officer must give notice of a deregistration or suspension, including the effective date and the reasons for the deregistration or suspension,

(a) to the deregistered or suspended organization, and

(b) in the case of a constituency association, to the applicable registered political party or independent member of the Legislative Assembly.

(3) The chief electoral officer must also have notice referred to in subsection (2) published in the Gazette.

Division 3 — Effect of Deregistration

Financial reports required on deregistration

170  (1) An organization that is deregistered must file within 6 months of deregistration the following financial reports with the chief electoral officer:

(a) a financial report prepared in accordance with section 207 for the period from the date of the last report under that section up to and including the last day the organization was registered;

(b) a report of the financial activity of the organization between the end of the period referred to in paragraph (a) and the date, as applicable, on which the funds of the organization are transferred under section 171 or on which the organization reports to the chief electoral officer that there are no funds to be transferred;

(c) any other financial report the chief electoral officer requires the organization to file.

(2) Sections 212 and 213 apply to a report under subsection (1) of this section.

(3) The reports required under subsection (1) (a) and (b) must be audited, except in the case of

(a) a report for a constituency association that is required because an electoral district is disestablished, or

(b) an organization that has

(i) incurred $5 000 or less in expenses, and

(ii) received $5 000 or less in political contributions

during the period from the date of the last report filed under section 207 up to and including the last day the organization was registered.

(3.1) In addition to the requirements under subsection (3), the chief electoral officer may require any other report under subsection (1) to be audited.

(4) Section 214 applies for the purposes of an audit under subsection (3) of this section.

Assets of deregistered organization to be held in trust

171  (1) A political party or constituency association that is deregistered must within 6 months of deregistration

(a) transfer to the chief electoral officer all the funds of the organization that are not required to pay its outstanding debts, and

(b) order its financial affairs as expeditiously as possible for the purpose of complying with paragraph (a).

(2) Funds received under subsection (1), including accumulated interest, must be held in trust by the chief electoral officer to be dealt with in accordance with this Division.

Disposition of assets of a political party

172  Funds of a deregistered political party must be dealt with as follows:

(a) if the political party reregisters within 3 years of the date of its deregistration, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered political party;

(b) if the funds are not paid out under paragraph (a), the chief electoral officer must pay them to the consolidated revenue fund.

Disposition of assets of a constituency association

173  (1) Funds of a deregistered constituency association for a registered political party must be dealt with as follows:

(a) if the constituency association reregisters within 3 years of the date of its deregistration, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered constituency association;

(b) if at the end of the period referred to in paragraph (a) the constituency association has not reregistered but its political party remains registered, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered political party;

(c) if the funds are not paid out otherwise under this subsection, the chief electoral officer must pay them to the consolidated revenue fund.

(2) Funds of a deregistered constituency association for a political party that has been deregistered must be dealt with as follows:

(a) if its political party reregisters within 3 years after deregistration and the constituency association reregisters within one year after that reregistration, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered constituency association;

(b) if at the end of the one year period referred to in paragraph (a) the constituency association has not reregistered but its political party is reregistered, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered political party;

(c) if the funds are not paid out otherwise under this subsection, the chief electoral officer must pay them to the consolidated revenue fund.

(3) Funds of a deregistered constituency association for an independent member of the Legislative Assembly must be dealt with as follows:

(a) if, before the funds are paid out under paragraph (b), the individual who is or was the independent member is an independent candidate in an election for any electoral district, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the financial agent of the candidate for use in the election;

(b) if the funds are not paid out under paragraph (a) and the constituency association reregisters within 3 years of the date of its deregistration, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the registered constituency association;

(c) if the member or former member dies before the end of the period referred to in paragraph (b) and the funds are not paid out under paragraph (a), the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the consolidated revenue fund;

(d) if the funds are not paid out otherwise under this subsection, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds to the consolidated revenue fund.

(4) As an exception to section 171, when an electoral district is disestablished and a constituency association is deregistered as a result, the funds of the constituency association not required to pay its outstanding debts must be paid as follows:

(a) in the case of a constituency association for a registered political party, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds, at the option of the political party,

(i) to the political party, or

(ii) to a constituency association of the political party registered under section 157 (6) (a) for a new electoral district;

(b) in the case of a constituency association for an individual who was an independent member of the Legislative Assembly for the electoral district at the time it was disestablished, the chief electoral officer must pay the funds, at the option of the individual,

(i) in accordance with subsection (3), or

(ii) to a constituency association registered under section 157 (6) (b) for the individual for a new electoral district.

Reregistration

174  (1) Unless deregistered under section 164 or 165, a political party or constituency association that has been deregistered may not apply to be reregistered until whichever of the following applies:

(a) in the case an organization that is deregistered under section 227, 2 years after the date on which the requirements referred to in sections 170 and 171 are met;

(b) in other cases, one year after the date on which the requirements referred to in sections 170 and 171 are met.

(2) In order to reregister, a political party or constituency association that has been deregistered must

(a) satisfy the chief electoral officer that it is the same organization that was previously registered,

(b) fulfill any unfulfilled requirements for the organization established under this Act including, without limiting this, filing reports and paying penalties and fines, unless the organization has been granted relief from the requirements under section 225, and

(c) file with the chief electoral officer a report in accordance with the directions of the chief electoral officer of political contributions received by the organization since it was deregistered.

(3) The chief electoral officer may require an organization that is applying for reregistration to file a report on its financial activities since it was deregistered.

Contents | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Schedule