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On Voting Day

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Campaigning on voting day

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 does not prohibit campaigning on voting day. While there are restrictions on advertising for federal and provincial elections on voting day, these “blackouts” do not exist for municipal and school board elections.

The Act does prohibit campaign material inside a voting place. You should be aware that the “voting place” could include the entire property of a building that has a voting place inside it, including the parking lot. You are not allowed to have campaign brochures, campaign buttons, signs or any other material inside the voting place.

Who can stay in a voting place

As a candidate, you are allowed to stay in a voting place to observe, but you are not allowed to interfere with voters, attempt to influence how they vote, or ask a voter how they voted. Scrutineers may also stay in the voting place.

Note: If you have been acclaimed, you are not allowed to be in the voting place or to appoint scrutineers.

You and your scrutineers are entitled to be in the voting place 15 minutes before it opens and to inspect the ballot boxes, the ballots and any other papers or forms relating to the vote. However, you may not delay the opening of the voting place.

You and your scrutineers are entitled to place a seal on the ballot box so that ballots put in the box cannot be removed without breaking your seal.

Scrutineers

You are allowed to appoint a scrutineer for each ballot box in a voting place. You do not have to appoint that many scrutineers, or any scrutineers at all. If you have appointed one scrutineer for each ballot box, one scrutineer must leave while you are in the voting place.

Scrutineers may observe, but they are not allowed to interfere with voters, attempt to influence how they vote, or ask a voter how they voted.

There are no general restrictions on who you can appoint as a scrutineer. An acclaimed candidate is not allowed to be appointed as a scrutineer for another candidate.

You must provide each scrutineer with an appointment in writing. Scrutineers may be required to show their appointment document to election officials at the voting place.

Scrutineers may be required to take an oath of secrecy. 

Counting the votes

If your municipality is going to use voting machines or vote counting equipment, the clerk must have the processes and procedures for use of this equipment by June 1, 2014. If vote counting equipment is used, the clerk will be able to provide you with information regarding how the votes will be counted, and how many scrutineers may be present.

The vote count begins immediately after the close of voting at 8 p.m.

If the votes are counted manually, you and your scrutineers are entitled to view the ballots as they are counted, but are not allowed to touch the ballots. You and your scrutineers may object to a ballot or how it is counted (if it is unclear who the vote is for, or if the ballot has extra markings on it, for example). The deputy returning officer is responsible for deciding whether to accept the objection, and must keep a list of all the objections raised.

After the votes have been counted, the deputy returning officer will prepare a statement showing the results, and seal all the other election documents, including the ballots, inside the ballot box. You and your scrutineers are entitled to put their own seal on the ballot box at this time. You and your scrutineers are also entitled to sign the statement showing the results.

The sealed ballot box and the statement of the results will then be delivered to the clerk, who will compile the results and declare who has been elected.

Please note: depending on the number of polls used in the election, it may take the clerk a day or two to make the official declaration.