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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 13 — General

Declarations required under this Act

268  (1) Where a solemn declaration is required under this Act, the declaration must be

(a) made on oath or by solemn affirmation,

(b) made before a commissioner for taking affidavits for British Columbia or an individual authorized under subsection (2) to take the oath or solemn affirmation, and

(c) signed by the individual making the oath or solemn affirmation and by the individual before whom it is made.

(2) An election official or voter registration official may take solemn declarations where these are required under this Act in relation to proceedings for which the individual is responsible.

(3) If applicable, a declaration or a signed statement required under this Act must be made in the form prescribed by regulation.

Exceptional assistance for signature or translation

269  (1) The provisions of this section are exceptions for allowing individuals to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations under this Act in circumstances where they would otherwise be unable to do so.

(2) If an individual is required by this Act to sign a document and is unable to do so, the election or voter registration official responsible may either sign on behalf of the individual or have the individual make his or her mark and witness that mark.

(3) If an individual requires the assistance of a translator, the election official or voter registration official responsible must permit the individual to be assisted by a translator.

(4) Before acting as translator under subsection (3), an individual must make a solemn declaration that he or she is able to make the translation and will do so to the best of his or her abilities.

(5) For certainty, an individual may act as translator for more than one other individual.

(6) The obligation to provide a translator rests with the individual who is required to make the solemn declaration or provide the information and, if no translator is available to act, that individual must be considered to have refused to make the solemn declaration or provide the information.

Public notice requirements

270  (1) Where this Act requires notice to be given in accordance with this section,

(a) the notice must be published on the internet and in one or more newspapers circulating in the affected electoral district, and

(b) information respecting the notice must be published through other media circulating in the affected electoral district, including by television and radio,

such that publication is made throughout the electoral district, if this is possible.

(2) If publication under subsection (1) is not possible, the notice must be given to the public by alternative means in accordance with the directions of the chief electoral officer.

(3) Notices to which this section applies may be combined as long as the requirements of all applicable sections are met.

Filing documents with chief electoral officer

271  Where this Act requires or authorizes a document or other record to be filed with the chief electoral officer, this may be done by delivering the record

(a) to the office of the chief electoral officer during its regular office hours, or

(b) to the chief electoral officer or an agent of the chief electoral officer at another place and time authorized by the chief electoral officer.

Adjournment of election proceedings

272  (1) Election proceedings may be adjourned by the election official responsible in accordance with this section if that official considers that the health or safety of individuals is at risk, or that the integrity of the proceedings is at risk.

(2) Election proceedings may be adjourned

(a) temporarily to another time on the same day or another time on the same day at another place specified by the election official responsible, or

(b) to a day, time and place to be set by the district electoral officer.

(3) The election official responsible must notify the district electoral officer as soon as possible of any adjournment and must follow any directions the district electoral officer considers appropriate in the circumstances.

(4) While proceedings are adjourned, the election official responsible must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the election materials are secured and that the integrity of the election is not compromised.

(5) The election official responsible must give notice to individuals affected by an adjournment as directed by the district electoral officer or, in the absence of direction, in any manner the official considers appropriate.

(6) Proceedings that are recommenced after an adjournment must continue for such a period that the total time for the proceedings is the same regardless of the adjournment.

Keeping peace and order at election proceedings

273  (1) An election official must maintain peace and order so far as reasonably possible at the election proceedings for which the election official is responsible.

(2) For the purposes of this section, from the time an election is called until the declaration of the official results of the election under section 137, the district electoral officer, the deputy district electoral officer and all voting officers are peace officers.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the election official responsible may do one or more of the following:

(a) restrict or regulate the number of individuals admitted at any time to the place where the proceedings are being conducted;

(b) order an individual to leave the place where the proceedings are being conducted if, in the opinion of the election official, the individual

(i) is present at a place when not permitted to be present under this Act,

(ii) is disturbing the peace and order of the proceedings,

(iii) is interfering with the conduct of the proceedings, or

(iv) is contravening any provision of this Act or a regulation under this Act;

(c) require proof of identification from an individual who may be ordered to leave under paragraph (b);

(d) order the removal of an individual ordered to leave under paragraph (b) if the individual does not comply;

(e) require the assistance of peace officers or of individuals present at the place where the proceedings are being conducted.

(4) An individual ordered to leave under subsection (3) (b) must leave the place and the immediate vicinity of the place at which the election proceedings are being conducted and must not return while these election proceedings are being conducted unless permitted to do so by the election official responsible.

(5) The authority under subsection (3) must not be used to prevent a voter otherwise entitled to vote at the place from exercising the right to vote.

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 is proof for the purposes of this Act that the individual has voted.

(2) As an exception to subsection (1), for voting under section 106 the initials of the election official responsible under section 107 (1) (c) on the certification envelope is proof for the purposes of this Act that the individual to whom the alternative absentee voting package was provided 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.

(2) If a record available for public inspection as referred to in subsection (1) contains information that is and is identified as the residential address or telephone number of a specific individual, on request of that individual, the election official or voter registration official must obscure the information in the documents available for public inspection and, for these purposes, may make a copy rather than the original available for public inspection.

(3) Where this Act requires or authorizes the disclosure, public inspection or other use of or access to records containing personal information, the personal information may only be used as follows:

(a) for the purposes of this Act;

(b) to enable members of the Legislative Assembly to communicate with voters;

(c) for other provincial, municipal or federal electoral purposes, subject to any restrictions or requirements established by regulation;

(d) to identify individuals to be called to serve as jurors under the Jury Act;

(e) for purposes authorized by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

(f) for other purposes specified by regulation, subject to any restrictions or requirements that may be established by regulation.

(3.1) Despite any other provision of this Act or any other Act, information obtained by the chief electoral officer as National Register of Electors information may be used only for purposes permitted by the Canada Elections Act.

(3.2) Despite subsection (3) of this section, personal information contained in the lists referred to in sections 51 (2) (b) and (c), 96 (5) and 97 (7) may only be used for the purposes of this Act.

(3.3) For certainty, personal information contained in a record referred to in this section must not be used for commercial purposes.

(4) An election official or voter registration official may require an individual who wishes to inspect or obtain a copy of a record referred to in this section to

(a) satisfy the official that any purpose for which personal information is to be used is permitted by this section, and

(b) provide a signed statement that the individual, and any individual or organization on whose behalf the first individual is inspecting or obtaining the record, will not use personal information included in the record except for a purpose permitted under this Act.

(4.1) Subject to subsection (4.2) of this section,

(a) in the case of a registered political party that wishes to obtain a list referred to in section 51 (2) (a) or (b), the director, principal officer or principal member of the registered political party on whose behalf the list is requested must file with the chief electoral officer a privacy policy acceptable to the chief electoral officer,

(b) in the case of a candidate representative who wishes to obtain a copy of a list referred to in section 96 (5), the candidate or the official agent of the candidate on whose behalf the list is requested must file with the chief electoral officer a privacy policy acceptable to the chief electoral officer, and

(c) in all other cases, an individual who wishes to obtain a copy of a record referred to in this section must file with the chief electoral officer a privacy policy acceptable to the chief electoral officer.

(4.2) If a privacy policy has been previously filed under subsection (4.1), the chief electoral officer may waive a requirement under that subsection.

(4.3) In this section:

"personal information" means personal information within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

"privacy policy" means a policy that sets out reasonable security arrangements against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal in respect of personal information contained in a record referred to in this section.

(5) Before the end of each retention period under section 149, the chief electoral officer must notify the minister responsible for the Information Management Act of the date the retention period expires.

(6) The minister responsible for the Information Management Act may require that records under the control of the chief electoral officer, other than records required by this Act to be destroyed, be archived

(a) in the digital archives established by the Information Management Act, or

(b) in the museum archives of government established by the Museum Act.

(6.1) [Repealed 2015-27-35.]

(7) To the extent of any inconsistency or conflict with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, this Act applies despite that Act.

Investigations and audits by chief electoral officer

276  (1) The chief electoral officer

(a) must conduct periodic investigations of the financial affairs of registered political parties, registered constituency associations, candidates, leadership contestants and registered sponsors for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations under this Act,

(b) may conduct audits of the accounts of individuals and organizations referred to in paragraph (a), and

(c) may conduct investigations of any matter that might constitute a contravention of this Act or a regulation under this Act.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the chief electoral officer or a representative of the chief electoral officer may inspect and make copies of the records of

(a) a registered political party or a political party that was registered at any time during the past 5 years,

(b) a registered constituency association or a constituency association that was registered at any time during the past 5 years,

(c) an individual who is or was a candidate or leadership contestant at any time during the past 5 years, or

(d) an individual or organization that was required to file an election advertising disclosure report at any time during the past 5 years.

(3) In relation to the authority under subsection (2), the chief electoral officer or a representative of the chief electoral officer may enter at any reasonable time the premises where the records of the individual or organization are kept.

(4) An individual or organization occupying premises referred to in subsection (3) must

(a) produce and permit copies or extracts to be made of all records required by the chief electoral officer or the representative, and

(b) provide all information that the chief electoral officer or representative may reasonably require.

(5) The authority under subsection (3) must not be used to enter a dwelling house except with the consent of the occupant or the authority of a warrant under subsection (6).

(6) On being satisfied on evidence on oath or affirmation that there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there are in a place records or other things relevant to matters referred to in this section, a justice may issue an order authorizing the chief electoral officer, a representative of the chief electoral officer or a peace officer to enter the place and search for and seize any records or other things relevant to the matter in accordance with the warrant.

Complaints regarding contraventions of this Act

277  (1) If the chief electoral officer receives a complaint alleging that this Act or a regulation under this Act 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 of election expenses penalties

278  (1) In relation to a penalty under section 217 (1) (b), 218 (1) (b) or 246, the chief electoral officer may issue and file with the Supreme Court a certificate specifying the name of the candidate or political party, as applicable, and the amount owed under that subsection by the candidate or political party.

(2) A certificate filed under subsection (1) has the same effect and is enforceable in the same manner as a judgment of the Supreme Court in favour of the government for the recovery of a debt in the amount specified in the certificate.

Enforcement of Act 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 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;

(b) the court may grant an injunction requiring an individual or organization to comply with this Act 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.

(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 may be restrained under subsection (1) whether or not a penalty or other remedy has been provided by this 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 in accordance with the purposes of this 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.

(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 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.

Test of new election procedures in a by-election

281  (1) The chief electoral officer may test new election procedures in a by-election, if this is agreed to by the leaders of the registered political parties entitled to be represented on the Election Advisory Committee.

(2) The agreement must describe the election procedures to be used, refer to the provisions of this Act that those election procedures replace and be signed by each of the leaders.

(3) To the extent of any conflict between an agreement under this section and this Act or a regulation under this Act, the agreement prevails and has the force of law.

Plebiscites on matters of public concern

282  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may direct the chief electoral officer to conduct a plebiscite to determine the opinion of the voters in all or part of British Columbia on a matter of public concern specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(2) For the purposes of a plebiscite under subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations governing the procedure for the plebiscite.

(3) To the extent that the procedure for a plebiscite is not established under subsection (2), the plebiscite is to be conducted in accordance with the regulations of the chief electoral officer.

Regulations of the chief electoral officer

283  Subject to section 16 (2) (e), the chief electoral officer may make regulations as follows:

(a) establishing procedures to be followed by the Election Advisory Committee;

(b) prescribing forms for the purposes of this Act and information that may be included or requested on them;

(c) prescribing information that must be included in an application for registration as a voter, in an application for updating voter registration information or on a certification envelope used for voting;

(d) [Repealed 2002-60-12.]

(e) prescribing identifying information that may be used for the purposes of section 35 (1) (d) in an application for registration as a voter;

(f) specifying a form or other document under another enactment for the purposes of section 38;

(g) respecting types of documents that are authorized for the purpose of section 41 (3);

(h) establishing classes of special voting opportunities and restrictions on who may vote at each for the purposes of section 77 (2);

(i) prescribing information that must be included

(i) under section 155 (3) (o) in an application for registration of a political party,

(ii) under section 157 (3) (m) in an application for registration of a constituency association, or

(iii) in a class of report under Part 9 or 10;

(j) prescribing classes by which income, expenditures, election expenses and contestant expenses must be reported in a report under Part 9 or 10;

(j.1) respecting a method of accounting to be used for the purposes of preparing reports under Part 10;

(k) specifying expenses that are to be included as personal election expenses of a candidate under section 183 (4) (f);

(l) specifying expenses that are to be included as personal contestant expenses of a nomination or leadership contestant under section 184 (4) (f);

(m) specifying election expenses for the purposes of section 203 (1) (i) that are not to be included when determining whether an organization or individual has complied with an election expenses limit;

(m.1) exempting from the requirements of section 231 (1) classes of election advertising that may reasonably be considered clothing, a novelty item or an item intended for personal use;

(n) prescribing information that must be included in

(i) an application under section 240, or

(ii) an election advertising disclosure report under section 244;

(o) prescribing classes of advertising for the purposes of section 245 (1) (a);

(p) for the purposes of section 275,

(i) establishing restrictions on provincial, municipal or federal electoral purposes for which information under this Act may be used under that section and, in relation to this, requirements for access to and use of the information, and

(ii) specifying purposes for which information under this Act may be used under that section and, in relation to this, requirements for access to and use of the information;

(q) establishing procedures for conducting a plebiscite under section 282;

(r) establishing higher amounts than those specified in this Act, where these higher amounts are contemplated by this Act;

(s) for any other purpose for which regulations are contemplated by this Act.

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