Bill 231 2007
An Act to provide fair access to vote for snowbirds, students, military personnel and other Ontarians abroad
Note: This Act amends the Election Act. For the legislative history of the Act, see Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. The Election Act is amended by adding the following section:
Application for ballot
45.1 (1) An elector may apply, at least 24 hours before the close of the general polls at an election in the electoral district for which the elector's name appears or is expected to appear on the polling list or a certificate to vote, to have a ballot sent to the elector if, on polling day and the days set for advance polls under section 44, the elector expects to be absent from the electoral district.
(2) The application shall be in writing and shall include,
(a) the elector's name, telephone number, current geographic address in the electoral district and, if it is different from the latter, current mailing address in the electoral district;
(b) the documents that the Chief Election Officer or the returning officer of the electoral district, depending on the person to whom the application is made, requires to establish the elector's identity, place of residence and eligibility to vote;
(c) a prescribed statutory declaration that the elector named in the application is eligible to vote as an elector;
(d) the mailing address where the elector wishes to receive a ballot and, if available, the telephone number, fax number and electronic mail address for the elector at that address;
(e) the means that the elector chooses for receiving a ballot, which may include by mail or courier delivery;
(f) payment of the prescribed fee for having a ballot sent to the elector by the means of delivery chosen; and
(g) the signature of the elector or a copy of it.
Election to which application relates
(3) The application shall be for a ballot in the first election in which the polling day takes place in the electoral district of the elector after the day on which the application is made, even if no writ of election has been issued for an election in that electoral district as of that day.
Person to receive application
(4) An elector who applies for a ballot under subsection (1) may make the application to,
(a) the Chief Election Officer who shall forward it to the returning officer of the applicable electoral district; or
(b) the returning officer of the applicable electoral district, if the application is made on or after the day on which a writ of election is issued for the election to which the application relates.
Form of application
(5) An application made on or after a date specified by the Chief Election Officer may be made by fax or other means of electronic transmission if the security measures specified by the Chief Election Officer have been observed.
(6) For the purpose of subsection (5), the Chief Election Officer may specify a date and security measures and persons who are required to comply with them.
Delivery of ballot
(7) After a writ of election is issued, the returning officer of the applicable electoral district who has received a complete application for a ballot shall put his or her initials on the back of a ballot and send the ballot to the elector at the address mentioned in clause (2) (d) using the means that the elector specifies under clause (2) (e).
2. Section 48 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:
Exception: absentee ballots
(4) This section does not apply to a ballot that an elector receives under section 45.1.
3. The Act is amended by adding the following section:
48.1 (1) To vote in the election for which an elector receives a ballot under section 45.1, the elector shall indicate the candidate of his or her choice by marking one of the circular spaces on the ballot with a cross or other mark in any colour, using a pencil or pen.
Return of ballot
(2) After completing the ballot as described in subsection (1), the elector shall have it returned to the returning officer who sent it to the elector and shall do so in a sealed envelope addressed to the person.
Verification of ballot
(3) On receiving a completed ballot under subsection (1) before the close of polling in the electoral district for the election to which it relates, the returning officer shall,
(a) ascertain, by examining his or her initials, that it is the same ballot that was sent to the elector; and
(b) place the ballot in a ballot box at the polling place that the returning officer specifies in the electoral district unless the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the elector is not eligible to vote, through death or other reason.
(4) The poll clerk shall indicate in the poll record that the elector has voted.
Late ballots not counted
(5) A completed ballot under subsection (1) that the returning officer does not receive until after the close of the poll to which it relates shall not be counted.
Acknowledgment of vote
(6) At the written request of an elector who has returned a completed ballot under subsection (1) to a returning officer, the returning officer shall send a written acknowledgment to the elector indicating whether or not the returning officer received the ballot in time for it to be counted.
Means of sending
(7) The returning officer shall send the acknowledgment to the elector using the means that the applicant specifies.
4. Section 52 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:
Exception: absentee ballots
(2) This section does not apply to a ballot that an elector receives under section 45.1.
Chief Electoral Officer
5. (1) This section applies only if Bill 218 (Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2007), introduced on April 25, 2007, receives Royal Assent.
(2) References in this section to provisions of Bill 218 are references to those provisions as they were numbered in the first reading version of the Bill.
(3) On the later of the day this Bill comes into force and the day section 40 of Bill 218 comes into force, the English version of the following provisions of the Election Act is amended by striking out "Chief Election Officer" wherever that expression appears and substituting in each case "Chief Electoral Officer":
1. Clause 45.1 (2) (b).
2. Clause 45.1 (4) (a).
3. Subsection 45.1 (5).
4. Subsection 45.1 (6).
6. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
7. The short title of this Act is the Fair Access to Vote Act, 2007.
The Bill amends the Election Act to allow an elector to apply for an absentee ballot in an election if the elector expects to be absent from his or her electoral district on polling day. The ballot issued will be for the first election that takes place in the electoral district of the elector after the day on which the application is made. The application can be made even if no writ of election has been issued for an election in the electoral district of the elector at the time of the application.
If the application is complete, the returning officer of the applicable electoral district is required to send an absentee ballot to the elector. In order to count, a vote on an absentee ballot must be received by the returning officer before the close of the poll in the election.