Next Municipal Election October 22, 2018
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing launched its review of the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) and the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing introduced Bill 181, the Municipal Elections Modernization Act which proposed significant changes to the MEA. The MEMA received Royal Assent on June 9, 2016.
Significant Amendments to the Municipal Elections Act
The revisions to the MEA significantly alter the conduct of municipal elections in Ontario, and will impact electors, candidates and election administrators. Some of the most significant changes include:
a) Changes to the election calendar and timelines: A number of key dates and timelines in the election calendar have been changed. This includes the nomination period being reduced from 37 weeks to 13 weeks, with the opening of nominations occurring on May 1st and ending on the 4th Friday in July (July 27, 2018).
b) Nomination Process: Candidates will be required to obtain 25 endorsement signatures from eligible electors. The 25 endorsement signatures are required to be provided at the time a candidate files his/her nomination paper. A person providing an endorsement must be eligible to vote for the office on the day that the person endorses the nomination and sign a declaration form stating such. Individuals will be permitted to endorse more than one nomination.
c) Ranked Ballots: In the past, municipalities were required to conduct elections using the first-past-the-post system, where the candidate who receives the highest number of votes wins. Ranked ballots allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference, instead of just voting for one candidate in the traditional first-past-the-post system. This system does not require a certain percentage of votes to be achieved to win a contest.
Municipalities were provided the option to pass a by-law to use ranked ballots to elect members of council starting in 2018. Chatham-Kent Council at its meeting on November 21, 2016 approved the following recommendations:
That the existing first-past-the-post election model for the 2018 municipal election be maintained.
The Clerk be directed to monitor ranked ballot elections in Ontario and report back to Council with a comprehensive report after the 2018 election.
Chatham-Kent Council at its meeting on April 10, 2017 approved the recommendation that the method of voting for the 2018 municipal election be a combined method of:
- Advance polls: paper ballots with optical scan vote tabulators, and internet voting
- Election Day: paper ballots with optical scan vote tabulators only
For more information please e-mail: CKclerk@chatham-kent.ca.