The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Bill No. 139

Municipal Elections Act (amended) *

An Act to Amend Chapter 300 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Municipal Elections Act *

Introduced by:
Honourable Zach Churchill
Minister of Municipal Affairs

First Reading
Second Reading Debates
Second Reading Passed
Law Amendments Committee
    Meeting Date(s) December 4, 2015
    Reported to the House
Committee of the Whole House
Third Reading Debates
Third Reading
Royal Assent
Commencement April 15, 2016
2015 Statutes, Chapter 47

Explanatory Note

Clause 1 amends the residence qualification applicable to electors to require that they

(a) be 18 years of age or older and a Canadian citizen on the first advance polling day in an election;

(b) be ordinarily resident in Nova Scotia for 6 months before the first advance polling day; and

(c) be ordinarily resident in the municipality, or in an area annexed thereto, and to have been so since immediately before the first advance polling day.

Clause 2 provides that a record of a person’s refusal to be enumerated must not be included in any list of electors, including the amended list of electors provided to candidates for office.

Clause 3 expands the scope of a cross-reference.

Clause 4

(a) requires that the amendments made by revising officers to the preliminary lists of electors be consolidated with the preliminary lists into a single list;

(b) allows the returning officer to amend the list of electors in the same manner as a revising officer could;

(c) requires that the amended list of electors be sent for printing;

(d) removes the requirement that the list of electors be kept at the returning officer’s headquarters; and

(e) makes the provisions of the Act that relate to the duties of a revising officer, the amendment of the list of electors and the correction of errors in the list of electors applicable to the returning officer when the returning officer is exercising the powers and discharging the duties of a revising officer.

Clause 5 repeals provisions relating to the final list of voters and a provision respecting the validity of a list of electors which is being moved to a different location in the Act.

Clause 6 requires that a candidate be nominated by five people whose names appear on the amended list of electors rather than the final list of electors.

Clause 7 requires that a candidate or the candidate’s official agent be provided with the amended list of electors entitled to vote for the office for which the candidate is nominated rather than the final lists of such electors.

Clause 8 clarifies that all candidates must file a disclosure statement, regardless of whether any contributor’s contributions exceeded $50 during the period since the previous election.

Clause 9 provides for the creation of a revised list of electors and for the division of a polling division into two or more polling stations if the revised list of electors for the polling division contains the names of more than 700 electors.

Clause 10 changes a reference to the list of electors provided to a candidate from the final list of electors to the amended lists of electors.

Clause 11

(a) removes the requirement for the face of the ballot paper to be used in an election to be printed in black; and

(b) gives the returning officer the discretion to determine the form of the ballot paper.

Clause 12 changes references to the list of electors provided to each deputy returning officer from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors.

Clause 13

(a) changes the beginning of the period during which the returning officer may issue a proxy paper to the day after nomination day;

(b) clarifies which iteration of the list of electors is being referred to in Section 76 of the Act; and

(c) removes references to a certificate of eligibility which is no longer being issued under the Act.

Clause 14 allows a deputy returning officer to return a voter’s marked ballot paper to the voter for deposit in the ballot box.

Clause 15 updates a reference to a list of electors from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors.

Clause 16

(a) clarifies which iteration of the list of electors is being referred to in Section 94 of the Act; and

(b) removes a reference to a certificate of eligibility which is no longer being issued under the Act.

Clause 17 updates references to a list of electors from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors.

Clause 18

(a) updates references to a list of electors from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors; and

(b) removes the requirement for a person whose name is not on the final list of electors to produce evidence of identification and residence when voting on ordinary polling day.

Clause 19

(a) provides for the creation of a final list of electors;

(b) requires that lists of electors only be used for election purposes and not be open for inspection, disposed of or sold; and

(c) relocates a provision respecting the validity of a list of electors.

Clause 20 updates a reference to a list of electors from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors.

Clause 21

(a) updates references to a list of electors from the final list of electors to the revised list of electors; and

(b) removes the requirement for a person whose name is not on the final list of electors to produce evidence of identification and residence when voting on an advance polling day.

Clause 22 requires that a final list of electors be given by a municipality to the Chief Electoral Officer for the Province within 60 days of ordinary polling day and allows the municipality to give the final list of electors to the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada and to a village.

Clause 23

(a) makes the secretary of a school board subject to the same requirements respecting the retention of materials and documents following a school board election as the clerk of a municipality is subject to following other municipal elections; and

(b) adds disclosure statements to the list of materials and documents that must be retained.

Clause 24

(a) provides that a by-law authorizing voters to vote by mail, electronically or by another voting method may provide for the appointment and duties of an auditor to audit and monitor the performance of the system of voting;

(b) removes a reference to a provision that is being repealed; and

(c) requires such an auditor to take an oath before entering into the duties of the office.

Clauses 25 and 26 improve the clarity of the Act by

(a) relocating language creating an offence out of Section 156 to Section 155; and

(b) revising Section 156 to be a stand-alone penalty provision that sets out the penalties for one who commits any offence under the Act for which no penalty is otherwise set out.

Clause 27 provides that this Act comes into force on April 15, 2016.