CAQ authorities tables invoice to increase mail-in voting for municipal elections


Invoice 85 would increase the listing of individuals eligible to vote by mail and provides Quebec’s chief electoral officer extra leeway through the pandemic.

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Underneath the brand new invoice, the listing would come with folks dwelling in non-public seniors’ residences, these unable to maneuver due to well being causes and their caregivers, and individuals who need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 below public well being rules.

The invoice additionally permits the chief electoral officer the choice of including polling days and days for advance polls, and permits them to choose bigger voting areas to permit for social distancing and to regulate polling stations’ hours with a view to keep away from crowds.

The chief electoral officer might additionally make guidelines extra versatile on the subject of deadlines for candidates to file nomination papers.

The one factor not included is digital voting from house.

Officers burdened the brand new measures are tailor-made to the wants of democracy through the pandemic solely. After the pandemic is over, the previous electoral guidelines would apply.

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They famous most of the new rules have been examined in latest municipal byelections in Quebec and there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks.

Voters will go to the polls to elect councils and mayors on Nov. 7 and native governments worry turnouts will plunge if extra choices are usually not supplied to residents who worry COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the UMQ welcomed the invoice.

“The measures proposed at the moment go within the course of the ideas made by the UMQ in the previous few months,” mentioned UMQ president Suzanne Roy. “When the invoice is adopted, the chief electoral officer have to be agile sufficient to quickly take the mandatory measures to specify the principles as a result of municipalities must put them in place.”

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Within the 2017 municipal election, 12,000 candidates had been on the ballots, with eight,000 elected.

Officers had been unable to say Wednesday whether or not the brand new mail-in voting system is likely to be utilized to English school board elections, which have additionally been delayed a number of occasions due to the pandemic.