Phone: (519) 867-2021
THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ST. CLAIR
BY-LAW 1 OF 2022
Being a by-law to authorize Vote-By-Mail for the 2022 Municipal Election and the entering into an agreement with Canada Post to provide Vote-By-Mail Services And Repeal By-law 14 of 2017.
WHEREAS Section 42 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 provides that a municipal council may pass a by-law authorizing an alternative voting method;
AND WHEREAS Council deems it appropriate and in the public interest to conduct the 2022 Municipal Election using a vote by mail method and to contract with Data Fix to provide election services;
AND WHEREAS Council passed Motion 9 during their regular meeting held on May 3, 2021 authorizing the use of the Vote-By-Mail method for the 2022 Municipal Election;
NOW THEREFORE THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ST. CLAIR ENACTS AS FOLLOWS:
1. The alternative voting method of “Vote by Mail” is hereby authorized for the Municipal Election to be held October 24, 2022.
2. The use of optical scanning vote counting equipment is authorized for use in the 2022 Municipal Election.
3. No advance or proxy votes will be included as part of the 2022 Municipal Election [as per Section 42(5) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O. c.32]
4. A Vote by Mail Kit will be provided to every person who qualifies as an elector. The Kit will either be mailed or directly provided to each qualified elector.
5. The Municipal Clerk shall establish procedures and forms for the use of, any alternative voting method authorized by by-law; and further the Clerk will make the procedures available to the public and to each candidate by no later than June 1, 2022.
6. The Clerk is herewith authorized to sign all necessary agreements to facilitate the 2022 Municipal Election using the Vote by Mail format including with Canada Post to provide Vote by Mail services, Dominion Voting to supply optical scanners, and VoterView to service the Voter’s List.
7. Vote by Mail procedures are prescribed as Schedule “A” attached hereto and make up part of this Bylaw.
8. This By-law shall take effect on the date of final passing thereof.
READ a first and second time, read a third time and finally passed this 17TH day of
Clerk Jeff Baranek
Mayor Steve Arnold
THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ST. CLAIR
TO BYLAW 1 OF 2022
VOTE BY MAIL PROCEDURES FOR THE 2022 MUNICIPAL ELECTION
“Vote by Mail” shall apply to all voting in the 2022 Municipal Election in the Municipality of The Township of St. Clair. The purpose of this document is to establish procedures for the conduct of the election.
“CLERK” shall mean the Clerk of The Township of St. Clair.
“COUNCIL” shall mean the Council of The Township of St. Clair.
“COUNTING LOCATION” shall mean the St. Clair Civic Centre, 1155 Emily Street, Mooretown, Ontario.
“MUNICIPAL OFFICE” unless otherwise specified, shall mean The Township of St. Clair, Civic Centre, 1155 Emily Street, Mooretown.
1. PROCEDURES FOR VOTE BY MAIL [Section 42(3)]
a) The Council of The Township of St. Clair enacted By-law 1 of 2022 on January 17, 2022, authorizing the use of Vote by Mail as an alternative voting method and electronic vote tabulation for the 2022 Municipal Election. Due to the elongated voting period afforded by the Vote by Mail method, no proxy or advanced votes will be accepted.
b) Section 42(3) of the Act requires that the Clerk establish procedures and forms for the use of any alternative voting method and provide a copy of the procedures and forms to each candidate. The purpose of this document is to establish procedures for the use of the vote by mail method that are consistent with the principles of Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O. c.32. It is noted that the Clerk, in the role of Returning Officer, may need to vary these prescribed rules from time to time if necessary.
c) The “Vote by Mail” option is used to ensure that every eligible elector has an opportunity to exercise his/her right to vote.
d) If it is necessary to amend any of these procedures, a copy of the amendment will be posted to the Township Election Webpage and each candidate will be notified by email of the change.
e) With respect to matters of policy and procedures for alternative voting methods, the Clerk’s decision is final.
f) The place where ballots will be counted on voting day is the Civic Centre, 1155 Emily Street, Mooretown, which is referred to herein as the Counting Location. Results will be posted in the public assembly portion of the St. Clair Civic Centre as soon as they become available. Results will also be posted at the Civic Centre and the Municipal Website the next business day.
g) Emergency Plan: It is impossible to predict if an emergency will occur, and if so, to what extent the conduct of the election will be affected. In the event of an emergency, the Clerk may, in accordance with Section 53 of the Municipal Elections Act, declare an emergency and make such arrangements as are considered necessary for the conduct of the election.
2. VOTE BY MAIL PROCEDURE (2022)
Where an election is required to be held for an office, the vote by mail procedure shall be as follows:
a) In approximately the third week of September, Canada Post will begin delivery of voter kits to electors that are on the voters’ list as of September 1, 2022. After this date, voter kits will be delivered in person or by mail if possible by the Returning Officer.
i When mailed to an elector the kit containing all materials required to vote is referred to as a “voter kit”. A voter kit will contain a ballot, instructions for completing the ballot, a voter declaration, a ballot envelope and a pre-paid business reply envelope.
ii Once received by the municipality, the sealed business reply envelope will be referred to as a “ballot package” and the sealed ballot envelope will be referred to as a “ballot envelope”.
b) On receipt of the voter kit, each elector should follow the instructions provided in the kit exactly. The instructions require the elector to:
i Complete the ballot;
ii Insert the ballot into the ballot envelope;(only completed ballots to be inserted into envelop)
iii Seal the ballot envelope;
iv Complete and sign a voter declaration form;
v Place the completed, signed voter declaration form and the ballot envelope into the business reply envelope:
vi Seal the business reply envelope; and
vii Mail the business reply envelope by October 17, 2022 or deliver it by some other means to the St. Clair Civic Centre no later than 8:00 p.m. on October 24, 2022 .
Note: The postage paid envelope only covers mail originating within Canada.
c) October 17, 2022 is the final day to mail a ballot package.
d) Electors who have failed to mail their ballot package by October 17, 2022
are encouraged to take steps to ensure alternate delivery of ballot packages to the St. Clair Civic Centre on prior to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
e) The “vote by mail” contractor has a record of all electors on the voters’ list provided by the Regional Assessment Office, and has received a list of all electors added to the list up to and including September 1, 2022.
i Electors on or added to the list up to September 10, 2022 will receive their voter kit by mail from Canada Post.
ii Electors added to the list between September 11, 2022 and October 24, 2022 will receive their voter kit by mail if possible from the Clerk at the St. Clair Civic Centre, Mooretown or in person should mail not be a viable option, as determined by the Clerk.
iii After October 17, 2022 it is recommended that those persons making application to add their names to the list do so in person or by an agent at the Municipal Office. If the application is certified by the clerk, a voter kit will be issued at that time.
iv It must be emphasized that, in a vote by mail system, the onus is on eligible electors to ensure that their names are on the voters’ list. Due to time constraints the clerk cannot ensure that voter kits mailed after October 17, 2022 will reach electors in time for them to exercise their right to vote.
f) Where it is not possible to mail a voter kit to an elector, and if the elector undertakes to pay the cost of courier service, the clerk will arrange for a voter kit to be delivered to the elector by courier, collect only.
g) If an elector on, or added to, the voters’ list does not receive a voter kit, or if the kit is lost or destroyed, a replacement kit may be issued. The elector or his agent may attend at the Municipal Office to obtain a replacement kit. The Clerk or designate will confirm that the elector is qualified, administer an appropriate oath, and issue the replacement voter kit. The master voters’ list and declaration form will be marked to indicate that a replacement kit was issued.
h) Blank voter kits will be stored in the vault at the Civic Centre. The vault door will be closed at all times except when necessary to access material stored in the vault. Blank voter kits are unable to be used until they are assigned an elector by the Clerk or his/her designate.
3. PROCEDURE ON RECEIPT OF BALLOT PACKAGES AT THE MUNICIPAL OFFICE
a) Ballot packages which are received at the Municipal Office will be stored in the vault in the Civic Centre for safekeeping until the designated time for the ballot packages to be opened in accordance with the procedure set out in Section 4.
i Access to the Municipal vault will be restricted commencing at the time of receipt of the first ballot package until the close of the voting on October 24, 2022.
b) The opening of ballot packages will commence at posted times beginning after October 4, 2022 up to and including Election Day on October 24, 2022. The purpose for opening ballot packages during this period is to process voter declaration forms, update the voters’ list and place sealed ballot envelopes into the ballot boxes.
c) Electors attending in person at the Civic Center on October 24, 2022 to exercise their right to vote shall complete their vote in accordance with the instructions contained in the voter kit, and deliver the ballot package to an Election Assistant or place directly in a designated ballot box.
d) Designated ballot package opening times will be posted on the Township Election website and all candidates OR their scrutineer may attend each and any session.
e) Depending on volume of returns, fewer or additional days will be scheduled for opening of ballot packages.
4. OPENING OF BALLOT PACKAGES PRIOR TO COUNTING
At the designated time and location an election official, in the presence of at least one other election official, will open ballot packages which have been received at the Civic Centre, and will:
a) Remove the ballot envelope and elector declaration from the return envelope.
1. If a ballot package contains a different number of elector declarations than the number of ballot envelopes that are contained within the same ballot package, the ballot(s) will be rejected.
2. If a ballot package contains an elector declaration which has not been signed, the ballot will be rejected. The elector declaration and ballot will be stapled together and filed alphabetically by ward.
3. If a ballot envelope contains writing or marks that may identify the elector, or is torn or defaced or otherwise dealt with by the elector in a way that may identify him or her, the ballot may be rejected.
4. Since the ballot package will be opened and separated from the ballot secrecy envelope prior to counting, and the ballot envelope is not marked, if it is unsealed, these ballot secrecy envelopes will not automatically be rejected as the secrecy can still be preserved. The decision of the Clerk or his/her designate as to whether to accept the ballot is final.
5. Where a ballot secrecy envelope is rejected, the reason for the rejection shall be recorded by numbering the ballot envelope and noting the reason for the rejection on a separate Rejected Ballots Record. If the voter’s name can be determined, a notation will be made beside his/her name on the voters’ list.
b) Update the voters’ list by striking the name of the elector.
c) File the elector declaration, by ward.
d) Place the ballot secrecy envelope in the appropriate ballot box and keep a running tally of the number of ballot secrecy envelopes in that box. (In order to facilitate counting on Election night, a maximum number of ballots per box will be predetermined). Once the box contains the predetermined number of ballots, the box will be sealed, numbered sequentially and stored in the vault. A new box for that ward will then be utilized.
i.e.: Ward 1, Box 1 – once this box contains the predetermined number of ballot envelopes, it will be numbered accordingly, sealed and placed in the vault. A new ballot box, numbered Ward 1, Box 2 will be used.
e) After all ballot packages received each day have been processed, affix a seal to each ballot box and place the sealed ballot box in the Municipal vault.
f) At the next designated time, retrieve the ballot boxes, inspect the seals to ensure that they are intact, and break the seals to access the slots for use.
5. COUNTING OF BALLOTS
As ballots are received at the Civic Centre, by hand delivery or by Canada Post, election officials in accordance with established procedures will strike off the name of the elector by way of an electronic list of electors (Municipal Voter View) and remove the secrecy envelope containing the ballot and place these in a ballot box that shall be sealed and placed in a secure location until the commencement of counting on polling day.
On October 24, 2022 counting will be conducted at a single location, namely the Township Civic Centre, 1155 Emily Street, Mooretown. No earlier than 2:00 p.m. on October 24, 2022 Election Workers will be sequestered in a controlled access area and counting of the ballots will commence. Counting will be by way of electronic tabulators. No results will be available or announced until after the 8:00 p.m. close of polls. The secure counting area will be available to candidates and scrutineers on provision of appropriate identification. Those observing the process, other than appointed election officials, will not be allowed to touch the ballots.
Counting the ballots, completion of the statements of results and handling of election materials will proceed as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O. c.32, subject to whatever modifications that may be required due to the vote by mail process and the electronic tabulation.
6. BALLOT RECONCILIATION
a) Reconciliation of ballots will be based on:
– number of voter kits mailed to electors
– number issued through the revision process
– number returned undelivered and returned by Canada Post
– number returned in time to be counted
– number returned after close of voting
b) Statistical analysis of “voter turnout” will be drawn from the reconciliation process and by counting the number of ballots dealt with on Voting Day as set out in the Statement of the Deputy Returning Officer.
c) In a traditional election, reconciliation of ballots is a means of ensuring that the number of ballots handed out is the same as the number of ballots returned. It must be noted that, in the vote by mail process, the reconciliation is only meaningful in terms of election statistics.
7. The commencement date cited in closure 3(b) is tentative and may change pending the final contact with the Vote by mail supplier.
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