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7. Summary

This Discussion Paper contains many possible proposals to current legislation and administration of both the municipal and provincial election processes. In summary form, it is suggested that;

Possible legislative changes are:

  1. any eligible elector, who can provide proper identification, will be added or be amended on the Registry of Electors at an advance poll, regular or mobile poll, up to and including election day;

  2. the removal of the need for a witness to swear for an elector before a Revision or Qualification Officer;

  3. the provincial election continue to be run on a compressed election calendar of 35 to 25 days, while the municipal calendar be shortened to 25 days. It is further proposed that a consistent nomination period closing 17 days prior to polling day be adopted for both electoral processes;

  4. the provincial election schedule be shortened by changing the Official Addition Day from 7 days after the event to 4 days;

  5. the citizenship requirements in the Municipal Elections Act be standardized to the requirements outlined in the provincial Elections Act to achieve greater consistency between the two Acts and to facilitate a single registry of electors;

  6. the residency requirement be standardized to six month period calculated prior to the date of the election;

  7. the two Acts could be standardized so students in a municipality, who meet the residency requirements of six months, have the same choice now offered to students in provincial elections;

  8. new Special Ballots be developed, to replace write-in ballots, for all student electors wishing to vote in the electoral district or municipality where their domicile;

  9. all future municipal candidates should meet the same basic citizen requirements for electors;

  10. the nomination requirements, therefore, could be standardized for all candidates to a $100.00 deposit , refundable when the candidate receives 50% of the vote of the winning candidate;

  11. the provision in the provincial Elections Act, which provides for the withdrawal of a candidate up to 48 hours before election day, could be adopted for all candidates of municipal elections;

  12. the procedures dealing with the death of a candidate be clarified so that in all cases where a candidate dies after nomination day, the election would automatically be countermanded and a new nomination and polling date set to protect the right to representation for all electors;

  13. common terminology should be adopted for all election officials and for similar procedures and processes to make the legislation simpler and easier to understand;

  14. there be provision to simplify and reduce the number and variety of oaths and forms required by the new legislation;

  15. the Chief Electoral Officer to provide for the re-design and simplification of all election forms;

  16. legislative amendments should be drafted with an eye on the future, and not be so restrictive as to prevent the effective use of new technologies in the recording and documentation of election activities;

  17. the new legislation should set out the requirement to provide a copy of the Regitry, but not the means by which it will be done;

  18. the present requirements for official election advertising could be standardized and simplified, to present a more user friendly format, by using simpler language, and more modern advertising techniques;

    Registry of Electors:

  19. The suggested creation of a continuous Registry of Electors can provide the same or greater accuracy as enumeration by taking advantage of modern technology and information exchange;

  20. the Chief Electoral Officer could be given the necessary discretion to determine whether an enumeration process will be required for exceptional cases, based on the quality of the current list of eligible electors;

  21. the currently mandated revision period should be eliminated and the Chief Electoral Officer provide for ongoing revision which could extend to one day prior to the election event, when a final list of eligible electors would be produced for use on polling day;

  22. the New Brunswick Chief Electoral Officer could be responsible for ensuring the Registry is maintained at a high level of accuracy, and for determining the optimum maintenance levels, whether it be continuous, regular periodic updates, or just prior to a major electoral event;

  23. the Chief Electoral Officer be provided with sufficient flexibility in legislation as to provide for pilots in other areas as new technology becomes available;

  24. it is important to continue to provide in legislation for the protection of the information used in the continuous Registry of Electors to restrict its use for election purposes only;

    Other proposed changes to the electoral process are:

  25. the requirement for the number of signatures in support of a candidate’s nomination be increased to one hundred electors at the provincial level;

  26. the requirement for the number of signatures in support of the candidate’s nomination be established at one hundred for municipal elections, where the population in a municipality is greater than 10,000, and at ten signatures where the population is less than 10,000;

  27. the party logos for registered political parties be added to the ballot to assist some electors in candidate identification for provincial elections;

  28. the Chief Electoral Officer be provided with the discretion to test the voting machines at mobile and advance polls on a pilot bases, and report to government on progress of its acceptance by electors;

  29. the Chief Electoral Officer could provide for the placement of prominent notices on all privacy screens at voting booths to inform electors, who may have accidentally spoiled their ballot by marking them incorrectly, that they have the right to return to the poll clerk and request a second ballot;

  30. the Chief Electoral Officer revise the write-in ballots format by preprinting all candidate names on the ballot and give it the designation of Special Ballot for use other than at advance and regular polls;

  31. the Chief Electoral Officer provide adaptations for the ballot to assist the visually impaired;

  32. the Judge, in the case of a municipal election, in charge of a recount could be given greater discretion in deciding whether only the ballots for the leading candidates or all ballots need to be recounted, for a municipal election;

  33. a new form be designed for the Judge to record the results of a municipal recount;

  34. the same hours be set for both the advance and regular polls;

  35. the current regular polling hours of 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, for both the provincial and municipal elections be maintained with counting of results to commence immediately after the close of the poll;

  36. at the discretion of the Chief Electoral Officer, the same Deputy Returning Officer could administer more than one poll at the same location;

  37. provide for the holding of an advance poll in the Returning Officer’s Office;

  38. the definition of a mobile poll be amended to include extended care units in hospitals;

  39. the Chief Electoral Officer could protect the right of secrecy for those electors, who are only able to vote at a mobile poll by the use of Special Ballots;

  40. the qualifications for poll workers be clarified to indicate that a poll worker could not work at a poll where an immediate family member or relative would be running as a candidate in the election;

  41. the Chief Electoral Officer develop rules for the layout of all polls;

  42. the use of cellular telephones and other electronic communication devices, not in control of the Chief Electoral Officer, will not be permitted in the polling station;

  43. the media would only be permitted in the poll for the casting of the ballot for the leaders of the major parties and mayoralty candidates;

  44. consideration be given to reviewing the period when a provincial by-elections would not be called after three years into a mandate rather than the current three and a half years, and that the time period within which a by-election is called following the declaration of a vacancy be extended to one year from the current six months;

  45. the Elections Branch be provided the flexibility to look at and evaluate the suitability of adopting new technology, such as electronic voting machines, as it becomes available;

  46. the Chief Electoral Officer identify and review those election functions which potentially could be provided from Service New Brunswick centers, such as a site for advance polls, or as an office where an elector can go to have his or her name put on the Continuous Registry of Electors;

  47. the legislation be reviewed to allow for the testing of these new types of technologies so they could be adopted as they are proven appropriate;

  48. the Chief Electoral Officer have greater discretion in the control of both the display of signage and the use of other electronic forms of advertising by candidates. It is further suggested that all loud speakers, and other forms of advertising be restricted such that they could not be heard or seen within 100 feet of the property on which the poll is located on advance poll or election day;

  49. the establishment of a blackout period of 24 hours preceding polling day would be a standard for all elections; and

  50. the committee review and propose appropriate changes to the Controverted Elections Act.

Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
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