The Regional District of Nanaimo will include Mail Ballot Voting as part of the 2016 RDN (Electoral Area B) Transit Contribution Referendum. Qualified electors in RDN Electoral Area B can register to vote and cast a ballot by mail, rather than attending in-person at a polling station. The process is regulated by provincial statute, and by the RDN General Local Election Bylaw.
WHO CAN VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT?
Eligible electors in Electoral Area B who meet one or more of the following criteria are permitted to register to vote by mail and to vote by mail ballot:
Persons who have a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote at another voting opportunity;
Persons who expect to be absent from the Regional District of Nanaimo on general voting day and at the times of all advance voting opportunities;
Persons who reside in the following areas of the Regional District of Nanaimo that are remote from voting places at which they are entitled to vote:
In addition to the above requirements, persons must be eligible to vote as an elector or non-resident property elector, in the same manner as a regular voter. Please see voting eligibility for more information.
HOW DO I VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT?
Complete the mail ballot application form, and submit it to the RDN Administration office as early as possible in advance of general voting day, February 13, 2016. The form may be submitted online via email, regular mail, in person, or via fax (if faxing please call or email to confirm). The application may also be requested or picked up using the same options:
Regional District of Nanaimo
Administrative Services Department
6300 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2
Once your application to vote by mail ballot is approved by the Chief Elections Officer, and as soon as mail ballot packages are available (tentatively mid-January, 2016), the mail ballot package will be mailed to you, or you can arrange to pick it up at the RDN Administration office.
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR RETURNING THE MAIL BALLOT?
To be counted, your mail ballot must be received by the Chief Election Officer no later than 8 pm on general voting day, February 13, 2016 at the Regional District of Nanaimo, 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2. Please note that it is the obligation of the person applying to vote by mail ballot to ensure that the mail ballot is received by the Chief Election Officer within this time limit.
WHAT IF I REQUESTED A MAIL BALLOT AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED IT?
Contact the RDN Chief Election Officer. You will be required to complete a Form attesting that you have not received the mail ballot. Once approved a replacement mail ballot will be provided to you. An elector who receives a replacement 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.
IF I LOSE OR SPOIL MY BALLOT CAN I GET A REPLACEMENT BALLOT?
Yes, a mail ballot that has been lost or spoiled by the elector may be replaced upon request of the elector. You will be required to return a spoiled ballot, and if the ballot is lost you will be required to complete a Form attesting to that. An elector who receives a replacement 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.
WHAT IF I FAIL TO COMPLETE OR SIGN ANY OF THE MAIL BALLOT DOCUMENTATION?
RDN Elections Staff will contact you and if time permits will arrange for you to complete the documentation and return it to the RDN office.
WHAT PROVISIONS ARE IN PLACE TO ENSURE THAT MY VOTE WILL BE KEPT SECRET?
The mail ballot voting 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 or Deputy 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 from the polling place on general voting day.
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 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.
WILL MY MAIL BALLOT APPLICATION APPLY TO FUTURE ELECTIONS?
The mail ballot voting process will be available for future RDN elections/referendums, however your application to vote by mail is not permanent and you will be required to re-apply for mail ballot voting for each individual RDN election or referendum. As well you will be required to meet the eligibility criteria when you re-apply on each occasion.
For more information about Mail Ballot Voting, please contact RDN Election Officials:
Jacquie Hill, Chief Election Officer
Matt O'Halloran, Deputy Chief Election Officer
Phone: 250-390-4111, toll free 1-877-607-4111