VOTER ELIGIBILITY: Who can vote?

Labour Day long weekend is just a few days away, and with it comes the unofficial end of the summer – which means it’s time to get serious about the upcoming Municipal Election on October 20. Candidates are preparing to file, planning their fundraisers, and scheduling opportunities to connect with voters. And, voters, you too have preparations to make.

In this space, in the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing essential information for voters in a Q&A format. The information will be taken directly from official election websites, and will be accompanied by the relevant links. We start off the series with this question:

  1. Who is eligible to vote? The following information is from the Government of British Columbia’s website (LINK):

Voter Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to vote locally as a resident or non-resident property elector, a person must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older when they register to vote, or 18 years or older on general voting day,
  • Be a Canadian citizen,
  • Have been a resident of B. C. for at least six months before they register to vote,
  • Have either lived or owned property in the jurisdiction in which they intend to vote for at least 30 days before they register to vote, and
  • Not be disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election

Voting rights are granted to citizens based on residency or property ownership. There is no corporate or business vote in local elections.

Eligible electors who live on a First Nation reserve can vote. Where that person votes depends on whether the reserve is located within a municipality or regional district jurisdiction.

Non-Resident Property Electors

When a person lives in one jurisdiction and owns property in one or more other jurisdictions, they may vote once in each of the other jurisdictions where they own property -- as long as they meet the voter eligibility requirements.

If a person owns a property with one or more other individuals, only one person is eligible to vote as the non-resident property elector for that property. The owner entitled to vote must be designated, in writing, by the majority of the property owners.

A person cannot vote on behalf of a corporation, or as a non-resident property elector, based on a property owned wholly or in part by a corporation.

Students

Students who live in one jurisdiction and attend an educational institution in a jurisdiction different from their usual place of residence may vote only once--either in the jurisdiction where they attend school or in the jurisdiction that is their usual place of residence.

Voter Ineligibility

Resident electors and non-resident property electors are not eligible to vote in a local election if they:

  • Have been convicted and sentenced for an indictable offence and are in custody
  • Have been found guilty of an election offence, such as intimidation or vote-buying
  • Do not otherwise meet voter eligibility requirements

The above information can also be downloaded in pdf format: VOTER’S GUIDE TO LOCAL ELECTIONS IN B.C. 2018. Click here to view/download.

Next up on Q&A will be: Voter Registration. Stay tuned...

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