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First Session, Thirty-Seventh Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.
It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications.

Bill 17

THE ELECTIONS AMENDMENT ACT


Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. E30 amended

1           The Elections Act is amended by this Act.

2           The definition "election officer" in section 1 is amended by adding "registration officer," after "poll clerk,".

3           Subsections 10(5) and (6) are repealed and the following is substituted:

Replacing a returning officer or assistant returning officer

10(5)       The Chief Electoral Officer may rescind the appointment of a returning officer or assistant returning officer and appoint a replacement if the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that the officer

(a) is unable, for any reason, to perform his or her duties;

(b) has failed to perform his or her duties satisfactorily;

(c) has not followed an instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer; or

(d) after being appointed, has engaged in partisan political activities, whether or not this was done in the course of performing duties under this Act.

Order to deliver material

10(6)       A returning officer or assistant returning officer whose appointment is rescinded shall deliver any material in his or her possession to any person the Chief Electoral Officer specifies.

4           Subsection 11(2) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Replacing an enumerator or election officer

11(2)       For any of the reasons mentioned in subsection 10(5), the person with authority to appoint

(a) an enumerator; or

(b) an election officer other than a returning officer or assistant returning officer;

may rescind the appointment and appoint a replacement.

Order to deliver material

11(3)       An enumerator or election officer whose appointment is rescinded shall deliver any material in his or her possession to any person the authority rescinding the appointment specifies.

5           Section 17 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Appointing returning officers

17(1)       The Chief Electoral Officer shall appoint a returning officer for each electoral division.

Resident voter

17(2)       The returning officer must be a resident voter of the electoral division, but in an emergency or other special circumstance, the Chief Electoral Officer may appoint a returning officer who is not a resident voter.

Qualifications

17(3)       Once appointed, a returning officer must not

(a) be a member of, be an employee of, hold a position with or contribute to a registered political party, a political party or a constituency association;

(b) be an employee of, hold a position with or contribute to a candidate or a person seeking to be a candidate; or

(c) engage in partisan political activities of any other kind.

When appointment ends

17(4)       A returning officer's appointment ends six months after the day a candidate is declared elected.

Re-appointment

17(5)       A person may be re-appointed as a returning officer.

If R.O. ceases to reside in division

17(6)       A returning officer who ceases to reside in the electoral division for which he or she is appointed shall promptly notify the Chief Electoral Officer, in writing, of that fact. The returning officer's appointment ends three months after residency ceases, unless before that date the returning officer has resigned or the appointment has been rescinded.

Notice in the Gazette

17.1        The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish a notice of the appointment of each returning officer in The Manitoba Gazette.

6           Subsection 18(1) is amended by striking out "Lieutenant Governor in Council" and substituting "Chief Electoral Officer".

7           Section 19 is repealed.

8(1)        Subsection 20(1) is amended by adding ", with the written consent of the Chief Electoral Officer," before "appoint".

8(2)        The following is added after subsection 20(2):

Qualifications

20(2.1)     Once appointed an assistant returning officer must not

(a) be a member of, be an employee of, hold a position with or contribute to a registered political party, a political party or a constituency association;

(b) be an employee of, hold a position with or contribute to a candidate or a person seeking to be a candidate; or

(c) engage in partisan political activities of any other kind.

8(3)        The following is added after subsection 20(3):

When appointment ends

20(4)       An assistant returning officer's appointment ends six months after the day a candidate is declared elected.

9(1)        Clause 21(1)(d) is amended by striking out everything after "each advance poll".

9(2)        The following is added after subsection 21(1):

D.R.O. for advance poll in returning office

21(1.1)     Instead of appointing a deputy returning officer for an advance poll held in the returning office, the returning officer may act as the deputy returning officer and permit the assistant returning officer to act as the poll clerk.

10          Section 23 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Election officers from outside the electoral division

23          If the returning officer is not able to find suitable voters in the electoral division to be deputy returning officers, senior deputy returning officers, poll clerks or registration officers, the Chief Electoral Officer may, in writing, authorize the returning officer to appoint voters from outside the electoral division to those positions.

11          The following is added after section 24:

Appointing registration officers

24.1        To accommodate persons who wish to be added to the voters list on polling day, the returning officer may, with the approval of the Chief Electoral Officer, appoint a resident voter of the electoral division as a registration officer for one or more polling subdivisions.

PART 2.1

LEAVE FROM EMPLOYMENT FOR CANDIDATES, ELECTION OFFICIALS AND VOLUNTEERS

Leave without pay

24.2(1)     Unless exempted under section 24.3, for the purpose of permitting citizen participation in the democratic process, every employer shall, on request, grant a leave without pay to an employee who

(a) is a candidate;

(b) has been appointed an election officer or enumerator; or

(c) has been named an election volunteer by a candidate or a registered political party.

Written request

24.2(2)     A request for a leave must be made in writing by the employee.

Part-time leave

24.2(3)     An employee may request either a full-time or part-time leave. If the leave is part-time, the request must specify the days and hours of the leave requested.

Confirmation of appointment

24.2(4)     The employer may require the employee to provide written confirmation that he or she either is a candidate or has been appointed or named as provided for in subsection (1).

Number of election volunteers

24.2(5)     For the purposes of this section,

(a) each candidate may name not more than two election volunteers; and

(b) in the case of a general election only, each registered political party may name not more than 20 election volunteers.

When leave begins

24.2(6)     A leave under this section may not begin until a writ of election is issued.

When leave ends: election officials and volunteers

24.2(7)     A leave for a returning officer or assistant returning officer may not extend beyond the day a candidate is declared elected. A leave for any other election officer, enumerator or election volunteer may not extend beyond polling day and, in the case of an election officer or enumerator, is only to enable the person to perform his or her duties under this Act.

When leave ends: candidate

24.2(8)     Unless ended earlier by the employee, a leave for a candidate ends as follows:

(a) if the person withdraws as a candidate, the day after the withdrawal;

(b) in any other case, the day after polling day.

If leave seriously detrimental to employer

24.3(1)     An employer may request an exemption from the requirement to grant a leave under section 24.2 if he or she believes the leave would be seriously detrimental to the employer's operations.

Application

24.3(2)     To request an exemption, the employer must apply in writing to the chairperson of The Manitoba Labour Board.

Decision maker

24.3(3)     When an application is received, the chairperson of The Manitoba Labour Board and the Chief Electoral Officer shall together appoint a person to decide the application on an urgent basis. If possible, the person appointed shall be a retired judge.

Procedure

24.3(4)     The person appointed to decide the application need not hold an oral hearing but may instead make a decision on the basis of written submissions.

Decision final

24.3(5)     The decision of the person appointed under this section is final and binding on both the employer and the employee and is not subject to appeal.

Contribution to plans may continue

24.4(1)     If an employee makes a written request to this effect before or immediately at the beginning of a leave under section 24.2, the employee may continue to contribute during the leave to any pension, medical or other plan beneficial to the employee in which he or she participates, as long as the employee pays both the employee's and the employer's contributions or premiums to the plan.

Reinstatement

24.4(2)     At the end of a leave under section 24.2, the employer shall reinstate the employee to the position occupied when the leave began or a comparable position, with no less pay and other benefits than the employee was entitled to immediately before the leave began.

Service continuous

24.4(3)     For the purpose of vacation entitlements and pension and other benefits, the employment of an employee who has taken a leave under section 24.2 is deemed to be continuous.

Employer's obligations

24.4(4)     An employer shall not, because of a leave under section 24.2,

(a) dismiss, lay off, suspend, demote or transfer an employee; or

(b) give the employee less favourable conditions of employment than he or she is entitled to, or diminish any benefit related to the employment to which the employee is entitled.

Complaints

24.4(5)     An employee who alleges a contravention of this section or section 24.2 may make a complaint to The Manitoba Labour Board under subsection 30(1) of The Labour Relations Act, and the matter shall be dealt with as an unfair labour practice under that Act.

12(1)       Clause 25(1)(c) is amended by striking out "14 days" and substituting "18 days".

12(2)       Clause 25(1)(d) is amended by striking out "21st day" and substituting "14th day".

13(1)       Subsection 38(1) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Period of revision

38(1)       When a poll is necessary for an election, a revising officer for the electoral division shall consider applications for revision of the voters lists for four consecutive days, beginning on the Wednesday after the day the voters list is completed under subsection 36(1).

13(2)       Subsection 38(2) is amended by striking out "9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m." and substituting "8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m."

14          Section 45 is repealed.

15          Subsection 46(3) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Copies of revised voters list

46(3)       On receiving the various revised voters lists from the revising officers under subsection (2), the returning officer shall prepare as many copies of the revised voters lists as the Chief Electoral Officer requires.

Distribution of revised voters list

46(4)       The returning officer shall

(a) deliver or send by mail to each nominated candidate in the electoral division not more than five copies of the revised voters lists;

(b) deliver to the Chief Electoral Officer as many copies of the revised voters lists as the Chief Electoral Officer requires;

(c) retain for his or her purposes and for the purposes of appeal the number of copies of the revised voters lists that the returning officer considers advisable; and

(d) divide the surplus copies of the revised voters lists, if any, equally among the nominated candidates in the electoral division and deliver them to the candidates on request.

Electronic form

46(5)       Copies of the revised voters lists referred to in this section may be in electronic form, if available.

16(1)       Subsection 65(4) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Days of advance poll

65(4)       An advance poll shall be open in the office of the returning officer of the electoral division on five days, from the Tuesday before polling day to the Saturday before polling day.

16(2)       Subsection 65(5) is amended by striking out "seven" and substituting "five".

16(3)       Subsection 65(11) is repealed.

17          Subsection 72(2) is amended by striking out "open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m." and substituting "open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m."

18          Section 78 is amended by adding the following after clause (b):

(b.1) the registration officer, if one has been appointed;

19(1)       Subsection 85(2) is amended

(a) in the part before clause (a), by adding ", or a registration officer if one has been appointed," after "deputy returning officer"; and

(b) in clause (b), by adding "or registration officer" after "deputy returning officer".

19(2)       Subsection 85(3.1) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Name added

85(3.1)     If the deputy returning officer or registration officer is satisfied on the basis of the oath and the documents produced that the applicant is qualified to vote, the applicant's name shall be added to the list in the following way:

1.  If the documents are produced to the deputy returning officer, he or she shall add the applicant's name, address and telephone number to the voters list.

2.  If the documents are produced to a registration officer, he or she shall give the applicant a registration certificate in the prescribed form authorizing the applicant's name to be added to the voters list. The applicant shall then give the certificate to the deputy returning officer of the polling subdivision where the applicant is entitled to vote, and the deputy returning officer shall add the applicant's name, address and telephone number to the voters list.

Scrutineers permitted

85(3.2)     A registration officer shall permit two scrutineers of each nominated candidate to be present whenever voters are applying to the registration officer to add their names to the voters list. Each scrutineer shall show his or her appointment to the registration officer and take an oath of secrecy in the prescribed form.

20          Clause 104(8)(b) is amended by striking out "interim".

21          Subsection 139(1) is renumbered as section 139 and subsection 139(2) is repealed.

22          The following is added after section 139:

New election if equal number of votes

139.1(1)    A new election must be held if, after an appeal from a judicial recount, or after a judicial recount from which no appeal is taken, there is an equal number of votes for two or more candidates who have more votes than any other candidate in the election.

Issuing a writ for a new election

139.1(2)    On receiving the certificate of the judge conducting the judicial recount, the returning officer shall give the certificate and the writ of election indicating that no member was elected to the Chief Electoral Officer, who shall

(a) issue a writ for a new election in the prescribed form; and

(b) give the writ to the returning officer of the electoral division in which the new election is to take place.

Date of the writ

139.1(3)    The writ for the new election must be issued on the first Friday after the day the Chief Electoral Officer receives the certificate under subsection (2).

Content of the writ

139.1(4)    The writ for the new election must

(a) specify the Tuesday that is 18 days after the date of the writ, for the closing of nominations for candidates;

(b) state that, where a poll is granted, the day on which general polling is to take place is the Tuesday that is 14 days after nominations close or, if that day is a holiday, the next day that is not a holiday; and

(c) state that it is returnable as provided in this Act.

23          Subsection 140(1) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Return of the writ if no recount

140(1)      If no judicial recount or appeal has been applied for, the returning officer shall send his or her certified return and the writ of election to the Chief Electoral Officer immediately after the 10th day following the declaration of the elected candidate. The return must be in the prescribed form.

Return of the writ if recount held

140(1.1)    If there has been a judicial recount or an appeal, the returning officer shall send his or her certified return and the writ of election to the Chief Electoral Officer immediately after receiving the certificate of the judge conducting the recount. The return must be in the prescribed form.

24          The following is added after section 155:

Failure to grant leave from employment, etc.

155.1        A person who contravenes section 24.2 or 24.4 respecting leave from employment for a candidate, election officer, enumerator or volunteer commits an election offence.

25          Section 174.2 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Right of candidate to enter multiple residence

174.2(1)    Between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., no person shall prevent a candidate or a representative of a candidate who produces identification indicating that he or she is a candidate or a representative from canvassing or distributing election campaign material at the doors of apartments or units in an apartment building, condominium complex or other multiple residence. But this does not apply to a residence for persons under reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.

Access to health care and correctional facilities

174.2(2)    In the case of a health care facility or correctional facility, canvassing and the distribution of election campaign material must take place at hours and a location mutually agreed to by the administration of the facility and the candidate.

Election posters and signs

174.3(1)    No landlord or person acting on a landlord's behalf may prohibit a tenant from displaying election posters or signs on the premises to which the lease relates, and no condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election posters or signs on the premises of his or her unit.

Permitted restrictions

174.3(2)    Despite subsection (1), a landlord, person, condominium corporation or agent may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election posters and signs that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit their display in common areas of the building in which the premises are found.

Coming into force

26          This Act comes into force on January 1, 2001.

Explanatory Note

This Bill makes the following changes in the Act governing provincial elections:

  • It shortens the minimum period of an election from 36 days to 33 days.
  • It states that returning officers are to be appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer instead of by Cabinet.
  • It requires a by-election to be held in the case of a tie vote, rather than having the returning officer cast a deciding vote.
  • It requires employers (if certain conditions are met) to give unpaid leaves of absence to employees who are candidates, election officials, or volunteers working for political parties or candidates.
  • It clarifies a candidate's right to canvass and distribute election material in apartment buildings, condominium complexes and other multiple residences.
  • It allows tenants and owners of condominium units to display election signs on their own premises.