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This Act is current to September 19, 2018
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 1 — Interpretation and Application

Definitions

1   (1) In this Act:

"absentee voting" means voting referred to in section 73 (d) or (e);

"advance voting" means voting under section 97 at an advance voting opportunity for the electoral district for which an individual is a voter;

"advance voting opportunity" means a voting opportunity under section 76;

"alternative absentee voting" means voting under Division 5 of Part 6;

"auditor" means an auditor appointed under section 179;

"by-election" means an election other than one conducted as part of a general election;

"calling an election" means calling an election within the meaning of section 26 (3);

"campaign period" means, in relation to an election, the period between when the election is called and the close of general voting for the election;

"campaign period election advertising" means the transmission to the public by any means, during the campaign period, of an advertising message that promotes or opposes, directly or indirectly, a registered political party or the election of a candidate, including an advertising message that takes a position on an issue with which a registered political party or candidate is associated, but does not include

(a) the publication without charge of news, an editorial, an interview, a column, a letter, a debate, a speech or a commentary in a bona fide periodical publication or a radio or television program,

(b) the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for no less than its commercial value, if the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election,

(c) the transmission of a document directly by a person or a group to their members, employees or shareholders, or

(d) the transmission by an individual, on a non-commercial basis on the internet, or by telephone or text messaging, of his or her personal political views;

"candidate" means an individual who is a candidate within the meaning of section 63, and for the purposes of Parts 10, 10.1 and 11 includes an individual who becomes a candidate or who was a candidate;

"candidate representative" means the financial agent of a candidate, the official agent of a candidate or another candidate representative appointed under Division 3 of Part 5;

"chief electoral officer" means an individual appointed under section 4 as Chief Electoral Officer or under section 9 as acting chief electoral officer;

"close of general voting" means the end of voting hours set under this Act for a general voting opportunity;

"constituency association" means an organization referred to in section 157 (1);

"contestant expense" means a contestant expense within the meaning of section 184;

"contributor confirmation" means a confirmation under section 235.04 (3) (a);

"contributor consent" means consent under section 235.04 (3) (b);

"district electoral officer" means a district electoral officer appointed under section 18;

"district registrar of voters" means a district registrar of voters appointed under section 22;

"election" means an election of an individual to serve as a member of the Legislative Assembly;

"election advertising" means the following:

(a) campaign period election advertising;

(b) pre-campaign period election advertising;

"election expense" means an election expense within the meaning of Division 2 of Part 10;

"election expenses limit" means the applicable limit established by Division 5 of Part 10;

"election official" means

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

(b) an individual appointed as a district electoral officer or deputy district electoral officer under section 18,

(c) an individual appointed under section 19 (1) or section 88 (3) or (4), or

(d) an individual appointed as an election official for the purposes of section 108;

"election official responsible" means, in relation to election proceedings, the election official assigned responsibility for those proceedings under this Act;

"election opinion survey" means an opinion survey respecting an election or a matter of public discussion in relation to the election, including an opinion survey respecting an issue discussed publicly in the election;

"election period" means, in relation to an election, the period between when the writ for the election is issued and the date set for the return of that writ;

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

"Elections BC authorized internet site" means an internet site

(a) maintained by Elections BC, or

(b) authorized by the chief electoral officer to be used for purposes of this Act;

"electoral district" means an electoral district referred to in section 18 of the Constitution Act;

"eligible individual" means an individual who is, or was immediately before the date of the individual's death,

(a) a resident of British Columbia, and

(b) a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada);

"final count" means the count of votes conducted under Division 2 of Part 7;

"financial agent" means a financial agent within the meaning of section 175;

"fundraising function" includes a social function held for the purpose of raising funds for the organization or individual by whom or on whose behalf the function is held;

"general election" means, collectively, elections called on the same date for all electoral districts to elect all members of the Legislative Assembly;

"general voting" means voting under section 96 at the general voting opportunity for voters for a voting area;

"general voting day" means the day established by section 27;

"general voting opportunity" means a voting opportunity under section 75;

"incur" means,

(a) in relation to an election expense or contestant expense, using property or services in such a manner that the value of the property or services is an election expense or contestant expense, and

(b) in relation to an expense referred to in section 194, using property or services in such a manner that the value of the property or services would be an election expense if the property or services had been used by or on behalf of a candidate, registered constituency association or registered political party;

"independent" means, in relation to an individual, an individual who is not a representative of a political party, either as a member of the Legislative Assembly or as a candidate;

"inducement" includes money, gift, valuable consideration, refreshment, entertainment, office, placement, employment and any other benefit of any kind and, for certainty, does not include merely transporting an individual to or from a voting opportunity;

"initial count" means the count of votes conducted under Division 1 of Part 7;

"intimidate" means

(a) to use or threaten to use force, violence or restraint against an individual,

(b) to inflict injury, harm, damage or loss on an individual or property or to threaten to do any of these, or

(c) to otherwise intimidate an individual or to threaten to do anything that is otherwise intimidation of an individual;

"judicial recount" means a judicial recount of votes conducted under Division 3 of Part 7;

"leadership contestant" means an individual seeking the leadership of a registered political party, whether or not any other individual seeks that leadership, and for the purposes of Parts 10 and 11 includes an individual who becomes a leadership contestant or who was a leadership contestant;

"list of voters" means a list of voters prepared under Part 4 that is all or part of the Provincial List of Voters referred to in section 45;

"major political party" means a registered political party that has a representative appointed, or is eligible to appoint a representative under section 14, to the Election Advisory Committee;

"market value" means, in relation to property or services, the lowest price charged for an equivalent amount of equivalent property or services in the market area at the relevant time;

"money" includes cash, a negotiable instrument and a payment by means of a credit card;

"National Register of Electors information" means information in the Register of Electors under the Canada Elections Act that is provided to the chief electoral officer in accordance with an agreement under section 55 of that Act;

"newspaper" means a publication or local periodical that

(a) contains items of news and advertising, and

(b) is distributed at least weekly in the electoral district or other area that is affected by the matter for which notice is required by this Act to be published in a newspaper;

"nomination contestant" means an individual seeking nomination as a candidate representing a registered political party in an election, whether or not any other individual seeks that nomination, and for the purposes of Parts 10 and 11 includes an individual who becomes a nomination contestant or who was a nomination contestant;

"nomination documents" means the documents required by section 54 (2) and (3);

"nomination period" means the period during which nominations for an election are accepted under section 56;

"official agent" means the official agent of a candidate appointed under section 69;

"ordinary ballot" means a ballot referred to in section 86 (2);

"organization" means an incorporated or unincorporated organization;

"permissible loan" means a loan to

(a) an organization or individual as referred to in section 180 (1) (a) to (e), or

(b) a third party sponsor for the purpose of sponsoring election advertising

at a rate of interest that is not less than the prime rate of the principal banker to the government at the time the rate of interest for the loan is fixed;

"personal contestant expenses" means personal contestant expenses within the meaning of section 184 (4);

"personal election expenses" means personal election expenses within the meaning of section 183 (4);

"political contribution" means a political contribution within the meaning of Division 2 of Part 10;

"political party" means an organization referred to in section 155 (1);

"pre-campaign period" means the period beginning 60 days before the first day of a campaign period for a general election conducted in accordance with section 23 (2) of the Constitution Act and ending on the day before the first day of the start of the campaign period;

"pre-campaign period election advertising" means the transmission to the public by any means, during the pre-campaign period, of an advertising message that is sponsored by a third party sponsor and directly promotes or opposes a registered political party or the election of a candidate, but does not include

(a) the publication without charge of news, an editorial, an interview, a column, a letter, a debate, a speech or a commentary in a bona fide periodical publication or a radio or television program,

(b) the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for no less than its commercial value, if the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election,

(c) the transmission of a document directly by a person or a group to their members, employees or shareholders, or

(d) the transmission by an individual, on a non-commercial basis on the internet, or by telephone or text messaging, of his or her personal political views;

"Provincial list of voters" means the list of registered voters prepared under section 45;

"registered" means,

(a) in relation to a voter, registered under Part 4,

(b) in relation to a political party or constituency association, registered under Part 9, and

(c) in relation to a third party sponsor, an individual or organization registered as a third party sponsor under Division 3 of Part 11;

"resident" means resident within the meaning of section 32;

"residential address" means, in relation to voter registration and voting, an address that is sufficient within the meaning of section 35 (2);

"return of the writ" means the return of the writ for an election to the chief electoral officer in accordance with section 146;

"solemn declaration" means an oath or solemn affirmation in accordance with section 268;

"Speaker" means the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and an individual lawfully acting as Speaker or, if the office is vacant, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly or any officer lawfully performing the duties of the Clerk;

"special voting opportunity" means a voting opportunity under section 77;

"specified fundraising function" means a fundraising function that

(a) is attended by one or more of the following:

(i) a member of the Executive Council;

(ii) a parliamentary secretary;

(iii) a leader of a major political party, and

(b) is held for the purpose of raising funds for one or more of the following that holds the function or on whose behalf the function is held:

(i) a major political party;

(ii) a candidate who is a representative of a major political party;

(iii) a leadership contestant for a major political party;

(iv) a constituency association that is the local organization for a major political party;

"sponsorship account" means an account opened under section 235.071 or 235.08;

"sponsorship contribution" means a sponsorship contribution within the meaning of sections 235.02 to 235.031, whether provided before or after the individual or organization acts as a third party sponsor;

"spouse" means a person who

(a) is married to another person, or

(b) is living with another person in a marriage-like relationship;

"tax receipt" means a receipt issued under section 20 of the Income Tax Act;

"third party sponsor" means an individual or organization, other than a candidate, registered political party or registered constituency association, that sponsors election advertising;

"volunteer" means, in relation to services, an individual providing the services as described in section 180 (5) (a);

"voter" means an individual who meets the qualifications referred to in section 31 to be registered as a voter under this Act;

"voter for an electoral district" means a voter who is qualified to be registered as a voter and to vote in an election for the electoral district;

"voter for a voting area" means a voter who is a voter for the electoral district for which the voting area is established and who is resident in that voting area;

"voter number" means the number assigned to a voter in a list of voters;

"voter registration official" means

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

(b) a district registrar of voters or a deputy district registrar of voters appointed under section 22, and

(c) an individual appointed as a temporary voter registration official under section 23;

"voting area" means an area of an electoral district established as a voting area under section 80;

"voting hours" means the hours established under this Act for voting at a voting opportunity;

"voting officer" means, in relation to voting proceedings, the voting officer appointed under section 19 who is assigned responsibility for those proceedings;

"voting opportunity" means a voting opportunity referred to in section 73 (a) to (d);

"voting place" means a voting place under section 75 for a general voting opportunity or under section 76 for an advance voting opportunity;

"voting station" means a location referred to in section 82 (1);

"writ" means, in relation to an election, an order of the chief electoral officer in the form of a writ under section 26 directing a district electoral officer to conduct an election for the electoral district;

"write-in ballot" means a ballot referred to in section 86 (5).

(2) For the purposes of the definition of "pre-campaign period election advertising",

(a) an advertising message that directly promotes or opposes a registered political party is a message that

(i) names the political party or includes a logo or likeness of a logo used by the political party, or

(ii) includes anything else prescribed by regulation, or

(b) an advertising message that directly promotes or opposes the election of a candidate is a message that

(i) names the candidate, includes an image or likeness of the candidate or identifies the candidate by voice or physical description, or

(ii) includes anything else prescribed by regulation.

(3) Except in relation to sections 228.1, 231, 232, 264 (1) (b) and (c) and 283 (m.1), the transmission of an advertising message, for the purposes of the definitions of "campaign period election advertising" and "pre-campaign period election advertising", includes the following activities, if the activities are conducted on a commercial basis:

(a) canvassing voters, in person or by telephone, to attempt to influence how voters vote;

(b) mailing material that contains advertising messages.

Time

2   (1) Times set under this Act 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 for doing anything falls or ends on a holiday, the time is extended to the next day that is not a holiday.

Amendments do not apply for 6 months unless notice given

3   (1) Unless notice is given under subsection (2), an amendment to this Act does not apply to an election that is called within 6 months after the amendment comes into force.

(2) After consulting with the Election Advisory Committee, the chief electoral officer may have published in the Gazette a notice that the necessary preparations for the application of an amendment to this Act have been made and that the amendment applies to any election that is called after the publication.

Act does not inhibit government or members

3.1   (1) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act affects an officer, director, employee or agent of one of the following bodies in the doing of an act necessary for carrying out the proper function of the body:

(a) the government as reported through the consolidated revenue fund;

(b) a government corporation within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act other than one that is a government corporation solely by reason of being, under an Act, an agent of the government;

(c) a corporation or organization that, under generally accepted accounting principles, is considered to be controlled by

(i) the government as reported through the consolidated revenue fund, or

(ii) a government corporation within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act other than one that is a government corporation solely by reason of being, under an Act, an agent of the government.

(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act affects a member of the Legislative Assembly in the doing of an act necessary for the performance of the member's duties.

Contents | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 10.1 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Schedule