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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT — Continued
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323

Part 4 — Other Voting and Counter Petitions

Division 1 — Interpretation

Definitions

157 The definitions in Part 3 apply to this Part and, in addition, in this Part:

"other voting" means voting on a matter referred to in section 158;

"voting area" means the area for which the other voting is to be conducted.

Other voting to be conducted in same manner as an election

158 (1) This Part applies to the following:

(a) voting on a bylaw or other matter for which assent of the electors is required;

(b) voting on a bylaw or other matter for which the local government is authorized by this or another Act to obtain the assent of the electors, unless otherwise provided by the authorizing enactment;

(c) voting on a referendum under section 245 [referendums to obtain electors' opinion] or 797.3 [referendums regarding regional district services].

(2) Except as otherwise provided, Part 3 applies to voting referred to in subsection (1) as if the other voting for the voting area were an election for a jurisdiction and, for certainty, Division 17 of that Part regarding offences applies to other voting.

(3) For the purposes of applying section 152.1 [prohibition against certain election advertising on general voting day] to voting referred to in subsection (1), advertising is deemed to be election advertising if it is used to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, a particular outcome in the vote.

Division 2 — Assent of the Electors

How assent is obtained

159 (1) Unless otherwise provided in this Act, assent of the electors to a bylaw or other matter is obtained only if a majority of the votes counted as valid are in favour of the bylaw or question.

(2) If a bylaw that requires the assent of the electors does not receive that assent, a bylaw for the same purpose may not be submitted to the electors within a period of 6 months from the last submission except with the minister's approval.

(3) A bylaw that requires the assent of the electors may be amended or repealed without the assent of the electors if the minister approves.

Each bylaw to be voted on must be for a distinct purpose

160 (1) A bylaw submitted for the assent of electors must be for only one distinct purpose, although the bylaw may include purposes incidental to the main purpose.

(2) If 2 or more bylaws are submitted at the same time for assent of the electors, each bylaw must be voted on as a separate question unless otherwise provided in this Act.

Division 3 — Other Voting Proceedings

Who may vote at other voting

161 (1) In order to vote at other voting, a person must meet both the following requirements:

(a) the person must meet the qualifications of section 50 as a resident elector, or section 51 as a non-resident property elector, in relation to the voting area for which the other voting is to be conducted;

(b) the person must be registered in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) To vote in other voting a person must

(a) be registered, on or before the date established under subsection (5) (a) if applicable, as an elector of the jurisdiction to which the person's qualifications referred to in subsection (1) (a) relate, or

(b) register immediately before voting,

(i) as an elector of the jurisdiction to which the person's qualifications referred to in subsection (1) (a) relate, or

(ii) as an elector for the purposes of the other voting only.

(3) A person may vote only once on a question submitted for other voting, even though the voting is conducted in more than one voting area and the person is entitled to vote in relation to more than one voting area.

(4) Registration referred to in subsection (2) (b) (ii) is effective only for the other voting being conducted at that time.

(5) If general voting day for other voting is not general voting day for an election for a jurisdiction in which the other voting is to be conducted and advance registration for the jurisdiction is available under section 56

(a) the chief election officer must establish for the jurisdiction a date after which registration as an elector of the jurisdiction will not entitle the person to vote at the other voting and the person must instead register under subsection (2) (b) in order to vote, and

(b) sections 62 (3), (6) and (7), 64 and 65 do not apply to the jurisdiction in relation to the other voting.

(6) If subsection (5) applies, at least 6 but not more than 30 days before the date established under paragraph (a) of that subsection, the chief election officer must give notice in accordance with section 44 of

(a) how a person may register in advance, and

(b) the date after which advance registration will not apply for the purposes of the other voting.

General voting day for other voting

162 (1) An authority in or under this or any other Act for the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a minister or the inspector to require a bylaw or other matter to be submitted for assent of the electors includes the authority to set a general voting day for obtaining that assent, subject to the restriction that general voting day must be on a Saturday.

(2) Unless general voting day is set under subsection (1), the chief election officer must set general voting day for other voting to be on a Saturday in accordance with the following:

(a) in the case of a bylaw that is directed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a minister or the inspector to be submitted for the assent of electors, not more than 80 days after the date of the direction;

(b) in the case of a bylaw or other matter for which a counter petition opportunity was provided, not more than 80 days after the deadline for submitting signed counter petitions;

(c) subject to paragraph (b), in the case of a bylaw requiring the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the inspector or a minister, not more than 80 days after the day of the approval or, if there is more than one approval required, of the last approval;

(d) in the case of other bylaws, not more than 80 days after the day the bylaw receives third reading;

(e) in the case of another matter, not more than 80 days after adoption of the authorizing bylaw or resolution.

Arrangements for other voting

163 (1) In order for a bylaw under this Part or a bylaw referred to in section 39 to apply in relation to other voting, the bylaw must be adopted at least 6 weeks before general voting day for the other voting.

(2) Unless subsection (3) or (4) applies, voting opportunities for the other voting are those established by or under Part 3 for the other voting.

(3) Voting opportunities in the voting area must be the same as for an election for a jurisdiction if

(a) general voting day for the other voting is the same as general voting day for the election,

(b) a voting area for the other voting is all or part of the jurisdiction, and

(c) the jurisdiction is responsible for conducting the other voting.

(4) As an exception to section 97 (2) (b) for a voting area with a population of more than 5 000, a regional district board may, by bylaw, limit advance voting opportunities to the required advance voting opportunity under section 97 (2) (a) if all the following circumstances apply to the other voting:

(a) mail ballot voting is available under section 100 (3) (b);

(b) the area specified for the purposes of section 100 (3) (b) includes all of the voting area for the other voting;

(c) the voting area is part but not all of an electoral area;

(d) general voting day for the other voting is not the same as general voting day for an election in the jurisdiction.

Notice of other voting

164 (1) In place of a notice of election under section 77, at least 6 but not more than 30 days before general voting day for other voting, the chief election officer must issue a notice of other voting under this section in accordance with section 44.

(2) In addition to subsection (1), throughout the period between the 30th day before general voting day and general voting day, the notice of other voting

(a) must be available for public inspection in the local government offices, during their regular office hours, of each jurisdiction in which the other voting is to be conducted, and

(b) may be made available at other locations and times as the chief election officer considers appropriate.

(3) A notice of voting must include the following information:

(a) the question that is to be voted on;

(b) the voting area;

(c) the qualifications required to be met in order to vote as an elector for the other voting;

(d) the date of general voting day, the voting places established under section 95 for that day and the voting hours for those places;

(d.1) the documents that will be required in order for a person to register as an elector at the time of voting;

(d.2) the place where persons may apply on general voting day for non-resident property elector certificates required in order to register at the time of voting;

(e) if applicable, information required to be included under section 103 (5) regarding municipal voting divisions.

(4) If the other voting is on a bylaw submitted for the assent of the electors or is authorized by a bylaw, the notice of voting must also include the following:

(a) either a copy of the bylaw or, if approved by the local government, a synopsis of the bylaw in accordance with subsection (5);

(b) if a synopsis of the bylaw is included, a statement that the synopsis is not an interpretation of the bylaw;

(c) the dates, times and places at which the bylaw may be inspected.

(5) A synopsis under subsection (4) (a) must include

(a) in general terms, the intent of the bylaw,

(b) the area that is the subject of the bylaw, and

(c) if applicable, the amount of the borrowing authorized by the bylaw.

(6) If subsection (4) applies, a full copy of the bylaw must be available for inspection by electors

(a) at the local government offices, during their regular office hours, of each jurisdiction in which the other voting is to be conducted, and

(b) at each place where voting is conducted.

(7) The notice of voting may also include any other information the chief election officer considers appropriate.

Ballots for other voting

165 (1) A ballot for other voting must

(a) indicate the appropriate mark to make a valid vote indicating assent or dissent, and

(b) be in a question form to which the elector may indicate assent or dissent by making the appropriate mark opposite the word "Yes" or the word "No".

(2) Unless otherwise provided by or under this or another Act, separate ballots must be prepared for each question that is to be voted on.

When counting for other voting is to be done

166 (1) As an exception to section 123, the counting of the vote for other voting may be held at a later time set by the chief election officer, as long as the ballots are counted before the date of the declaration of the other voting results under section 136.

(2) If a later time for counting is set under subsection (1), the presiding election official must ensure that the ballots are sealed in ballot boxes in accordance with section 111 and are delivered to the chief election officer with the materials referred to in section 133.

Special procedures if voting is conducted by more than one jurisdiction

167 (1) This section applies to other voting on a regional district bylaw or other regional district matter that is to be conducted by more than one local government.

(2) The regional district board must, by bylaw,

(a) establish the question to be used for all the voting, and

(b) if applicable, set the date for the required advance voting day under section 97 (2) (b) for all voting areas other than a voting area referred to in section 163 (3) or (4).

(3) Except for a voting area referred to in section 163 (3), the bylaws under sections 96, 98 and 99 of a local government other than the regional district board do not apply and, instead, the regional district may, by bylaw, establish voting opportunities under those sections for one or more voting areas for the other voting.

(4) The regional district board must appoint

(a) a regional voting officer for the other voting, and

(b) a deputy regional voting officer for the other voting who, if the regional voting officer is absent or unable to act, must perform the duties and has the powers of the regional voting officer.

(5) The regional voting officer has the following duties and powers:

(a) to arrange for the coordination of the proceedings throughout the regional district;

(b) to set the general voting day for all voting throughout the regional district;

(c) to arrange for the preparation of the ballots for the voting;

(d) to direct the chief election officers for the local governments regarding the form and manner of notices that are required or authorized by this Act regarding the voting;

(e) to make the final determination and declaration of other voting results under sections 135 and 136 based on the results determined by the chief election officers of the local governments;

(f) to appoint the scrutineers for the final determination of other voting results and any judicial recount in accordance with section 172 (4) and (5);

(g) to apply to the minister for an order under section 155.

(6) If there is a conflict between this section or an authority under this section and another provision of this Act or an authority under this Act, this section or the authority under it prevails.

Other general matters

168 (1) Notices under this Part may be combined with notices under Part 3, as it applies to elections or to other voting, as long as the requirements of all applicable sections are met.

(2) Section 149, requiring the publication of election results in the Gazette, does not apply to other voting.

(3) Regulations under section 156, as it applies to other voting, may be different for different types of other voting.

Division 4 — Scrutineers

Scrutineers for other voting

169 (1) Scrutineers for the question in other voting and scrutineers against the question must be appointed under section 172 if applications in accordance with section 171 are received from persons who wish to volunteer for the positions.

(2) Only persons entitled to vote as electors in the other voting are entitled to act as scrutineers for the other voting, but election officials must not be appointed as scrutineers for the other voting.

(3) Unless a bylaw under subsection (4) applies, only one scrutineer for the question and one scrutineer against the question may be present at each place at which scrutineers are entitled by Part 3 to be present.

(4) A local government may, by bylaw, permit additional scrutineers to be present at proceedings referred to in subsection (3), subject to any restrictions and conditions in the bylaw.

(5) As a limit on the authority under subsection (4), a bylaw under that subsection may not provide for different entitlements for scrutineers for the question and scrutineers against the question.

(6) The absence of a scrutineer from a place where proceedings for other voting are being conducted does not invalidate anything done in relation to the other voting.

Notice of applications to volunteer as a scrutineer

170 (1) Not more than 30 days before the application period begins, the chief election officer must issue a notice under this section in accordance with section 44.

(2) The notice must include the following information:

(a) the question that is to be voted on;

(b) the dates, times and places at which applications for scrutineers will be received;

(c) how interested persons can obtain information on the requirements and procedures for making an application.

(3) The notice may include any other information the chief election officer considers appropriate.

(4) In addition to subsection (1), from the sixth day before the application period begins until the close of the application period, the notice must be available for public inspection in the local government offices, during their regular office hours, of each jurisdiction in which the other voting is being conducted.

Applications to volunteer to act as scrutineer for other voting

171 (1) The chief election officer must establish a 10-day time period during which applications to act as a scrutineer will be received, in order that appointments may be made before the first voting opportunity.

(1.1) As an exception to subsection (1), if general voting day for other voting is the general voting day for an election, the period for receiving applications

(a) may be established under subsection (1), and

(b) if it is not established under subsection (1), is the nomination period referred to in section 69.

(2) An application to act as a scrutineer for other voting must be signed by the applicant and contain the following information:

(a) the full name of the person applying;

(b) the address to which the person applying wishes to have notices sent;

(c) if required by the chief election officer, a telephone number at which the person applying may be contacted;

(d) a statement that the applicant is entitled to vote as an elector in the other voting and is entitled to act as a scrutineer for the other voting;

(e) a statement as to whether the applicant is in favour of the question or opposed to the question;

(f) any other information required to be included by a regulation under subsection (4).

(3) In order to be appointed as a scrutineer, the application to volunteer as a scrutineer must be received by the chief election officer, or a person designated by the chief election officer for this purpose, before the end of the application period under subsection (1).

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing information that must be included in an application under this section.

Appointment of scrutineers for other voting

172 (1) The chief election officer must

(a) on the basis of the applications received in accordance with section 171, appoint applicants in favour of the question as scrutineers for the question and applicants opposed to the question as scrutineers against the question, and

(b) assign scrutineers to each place at which scrutineers are entitled to be present under Part 3.

(2) If the number of applicants on one side of the question is fewer than the maximum allowed under section 169,

(a) all these applicants must be appointed as scrutineers in accordance with subsection (1), and

(b) a scrutineer may be assigned to more than one place if the hours or days of the proceedings at which scrutineers are entitled to be present allow this.

(3) If there are more applicants on one side of the question than the maximum allowed under section 169, the following rules apply:

(a) the scrutineers for that side must be determined by lot in accordance with the procedure used in section 107 (4) (a) to (d);

(b) the chief election officer must notify all applicants of the date, time and place of the determination by lot and these applicants are entitled to be present;

(c) names are to be drawn until the number of names drawn is equivalent to the number of scrutineers to be appointed;

(d) the persons whose names are drawn must be appointed as scrutineers in accordance with subsection (1);

(e) in the discretion of the chief election officer, additional names may be drawn of persons who may be appointed if applicants appointed under paragraph (d) are unable to act as scrutineers.

(4) In addition to the appointments under subsection (1), one scrutineer for the question and one scrutineer against the question is entitled to be present at the final determination under section 135 of the other voting and at any judicial recount of the other voting.

(5) Scrutineers referred to in subsection (4) must be appointed in accordance with the following:

(a) the appointment must be made from among those persons who acted as scrutineers under subsection (1) and who indicate that they wish to be considered for the appointment;

(b) if, for a side of the question, more than one person wishes to be considered for appointment, the choice must be made by lot in accordance with subsection (3).

(6) A scrutineer appointment must

(a) be made in writing,

(b) state the name and address of the person appointed,

(c) state the proceedings to which the scrutineer has been assigned under this section and the dates, times and places where these are to be conducted, and

(d) be signed by the chief election officer.

Division 5 — Counter Petition Opportunities

Application

172.1 (1) This Division applies to counter petition opportunities required or authorized under this Act in relation to proposed local government bylaws, actions or other matters.

(2) If the proposed bylaw, action or other matter to which a counter petition opportunity relates is amended or otherwise changed after a notice under section 172.4 has been published, unless the inspector approves, the revised proposal must be considered a new proposal for the purposes of this Division.

Process choice for local governments

172.2 Despite any other provision of this Act, where this Act requires or authorizes a local government to provide a counter petition opportunity, the local government may instead seek the assent of electors.

Deadline for submitting counter petitions

172.3 (1) In relation to each counter petition opportunity, the local government must establish a deadline by which counter petitions in relation to the proposed bylaw, action or other matter must be submitted to the local government.

(2) A deadline established under subsection (1) must be such that it is at least 30 days after the second publication referred to in section 172.4 (1).

Notice of counter petition opportunity

172.4 (1) Notice of a counter petition opportunity must be published in accordance with section 44 in at least 2 issues of a newspaper, with the second publication at least 30 days before the deadline established under section 172.3.

(2) A notice under subsection (1) must include the following:

(a) a general description of the proposed bylaw, action or other matter to which the counter petition opportunity relates;

(b) a statement that the local government may proceed with the matter unless at least 5% of the electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies petition against the matter by signing counter petition forms and submitting them to the local government by the deadline;

(c) a statement that a counter petition must be in the form established by the local government and that forms are available from the local government on request;

(d) a statement that the only persons entitled to sign counter petition forms are the electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies;

(e) a description of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies;

(f) the deadline for submitting signed counter petition forms to the local government;

(g) the number of electors who must petition against the matter in order to prevent the local government from proceeding without the assent of the electors;

(h) other information prescribed under section 172.91 [regulations].

(3) For the purpose of subsection (2) (g), the local government must make a fair estimate of the total number of electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies.

Counter petition forms

172.5 (1) The local government must

(a) prepare counter petition forms ready for distribution at the time of first publication under section 172.4, and

(b) subject to subsection (2), distribute a counter petition form to each person who requests one.

(2) Before providing a counter petition form to a person, a designated local government officer may require the person to sign a declaration that the person will not contravene section 172.8 [prohibition against false statements].

(3) A person who receives a counter petition form referred to in subsection (1) may make accurate copies of the counter petition form, which are to be considered counter petition forms for the purposes of this Division.

(4) The counter petition forms prepared or accurately copied under this section are collectively the counter petition in relation to the proposed bylaw, action or other matter.

Requirements for signing a counter petition

172.6 (1) Each counter petition form may be signed by one or more electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies.

(2) For the purposes of this Division, the electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies are the persons who would meet the qualifications referred to in section 161 (1) (a) [who may vote at other voting] if assent of the electors were sought in respect of the matter.

(3) The full name and residential address of each person signing must be included on the counter petition form and, if applicable, the address of the property in relation to which the person is entitled to register as a non-resident property elector must also be included.

(4) A person must not sign a counter petition more than once and may not withdraw their name from a counter petition after the deadline established under section 172.3.

Effect of counter petition

172.7 (1) If a counter petition is certified as having been signed by at least 5% of the electors of the area to which the counter petition opportunity applies, the local government must not proceed with the proposed bylaw, action or other matter unless it receives the assent of the electors.

(2) If the counter petition is certified as not having been signed by the percentage of electors referred to in subsection (1), the electors are deemed to have approved the proposed bylaw, action or other matter and the local government may proceed with the proposed matter.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the local government officer assigned responsibility under section 198 [corporate administration] must determine and certify, on the basis of the signed counter petition forms submitted to the local government before the deadline established under section 172.3,

(a) whether the counter petition forms submitted are accurate, and

(b) whether the counter petition has been signed by the percentage of electors referred to in subsection (1).

Prohibition against false statements

172.8 A person who presents a counter petition form to another person for signing must not knowingly make any false or misleading statements to the other person about the proposed bylaw, action or other matter to which the counter petition relates.

Offences

172.9 (1) The following sections apply in relation to counter petition opportunities, with a reference to voting to be read as a reference to the signing of a counter petition:

section 151 [vote buying];

section 152 [intimidation];

section 153 (6) (b) [false declarations];

section 154 [penalties].

(2) A person who contravenes section 172.8 [prohibition against false statements] commits an offence and section 154 (2) applies.

Regulations

172.91 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) prescribing information that must be included in a notice under section 172.4 [notice of counter petition opportunity];

(b) prescribing the form and content of counter petitions under this Division.

(2) Regulations under this section may be different for different classes of proposed bylaws, actions or other matters to which counter petition opportunities relate.


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