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General · 26th October 2011
Strathcona Regional District
The Strathcona Regional District has adopted a bylaw that permits elector registration and voting to be conducted by mail ballot in some circumstances.

WHAT IS MAIL BALLOT VOTING?
Mail ballot voting is a process whereby qualified electors who would otherwise be unable to vote due to a physical disability, remoteness from a voting location, or absence from the Regional District during an election are permitted to cast a ballot without attending in person at a polling station. The mail balloting process is regulated by Provincial statute and the Regional District’s election bylaw.

WHO CAN VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT?
Electors may qualify to vote by mail ballot if any of the following circumstances exist:
• the elector has a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote at another voting opportunity,
• the elector expects to be absent from the Regional District on general voting day and at the times of all advance voting opportunities, or
• the elector resides in a location not readily accessible by road, or resides on any island except for Cortes Island, Quadra Island or Vancouver Island.

HOW DO I OBTAIN A MAIL BALLOT PACKAGE?

Before 4:30 pm on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 you must sign and submit a completed application form to the Chief Election Officer by mail, telephone, fax or email to electionsstrathconard.ca Copies of documents required to establish your identity and place of residence in accordance with the Local Government Act are required to accompany the application. Upon receipt your application will be reviewed to determine whether or not you are currently registered as a resident elector or non-resident property elector, and whether the documents you have provided confirm your identity and residency. If applying as a non-resident property elector, your ownership of real property will be checked against the records of the BC Land Title office.
If you are not currently on the register of electors your application must also be accompanied by an application to register as a resident elector or non-resident property elector.

WHEN DOES MY MAIL BALLOT NEED TO BE SUBMITTED?

Mail ballots must be received by the Chief Election Officer prior to the close of voting on November 19, 2011. Mail ballots may be delivered personally or by regular mail or courier. It is the responsibility of the elector to ensure that their mail ballot is received prior to the deadline. Mail ballots received after the deadline will not be counted and will remain in the sealed envelope. Electors who believe that their mail ballot package may not be received in sufficient time by regular mail may request expedited delivery of the mail ballot package or they may choose to pick up the mail ballot package in person from the Regional District office. There is a flat fee of $20 (inclusive of HST) to cover the cost of expedited mail delivery.

WHAT PROVISIONS ARE IN PLACE TO ENSURE THAT MY VOTE WILL BE KEPT SECRET?
The mail balloting process has several safeguards to ensure that ballots are kept secret and that the rights of electors to privacy are respected. The mail ballot package includes a secrecy envelope into which an elector’s ballot is placed and the envelope is then sealed by the elector. The secrecy envelope does not have any external markings to identify the elector and it may only be opened by the Chief Election Officer on general voting day. In addition, if the number of mail ballots received for any election are deemed insufficient to ensure the secrecy of the ballot they will be combined with the ballots in another ballot box for the same voting jurisdiction.

IF I SPOIL MY BALLOT CAN I GET A REPLACEMENT BALLOT?
Yes, a mail ballot that has been spoiled by the elector may be replaced upon request of the elector and the return of the spoiled ballot. An elector who spoils a ballot is still subject to the requirement that their ballot be received by the Chief Election Officer before the close of voting on general voting day in order to be counted in the election result.

WHEN DO THE MAIL BALLOTS GET COUNTED?

When a mail ballot is received by the Chief Election Officer the certification envelope will be examined to ensure that it has been properly completed and, if satisfied as to the elector’s entitlement to vote, the secrecy envelope will be deposited unopened in a separate ballot box reserved for mail ballots. On Saturday, November 19, 2011 (general voting day) the secrecy envelopes will be opened and the ballots will be placed into the respective ballot box for the appropriate election. All mail ballots which have been accepted will be counted on general voting day regardless of the day they are received by the Chief Election Officer.

WHEN WILL THE MAIL BALLOTS BE AVAILABLE?

Mail ballots will be available soon after the declarations of election by voting and the availability of ballots for those elections. Ballots cast by mail must be received by the Chief Election Officer before the close of voting on general election day.

FURTHER INFORMATION on the foregoing may be obtained by contacting Thomas Yates, Chief Election Officer or Monique Hebert, Deputy Chief Election Officer at electionsstrathconard.ca