Elector organizations and endorsements

An elector organization is an organization that endorses or intends to endorse a candidate, or candidates, in general local election and by-elections. Elector organizations may be referred to as "civic political parties".

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Elector Organizations

Fundamentally, elector organizations endorse candidates. Elector organizations may have their name, abbreviation or acronym shown on the ballot beside their endorsed candidate(s) name and generally promote their endorsed candidate(s) or the organization’s viewpoints during an election campaign.

Elector organizations are required to register with Elections BC to endorse a candidate in an election, receive campaign contribution or incur an election expense. Only those elector organizations registered with Elections BC can endorse candidates, receive campaign contributions and incur election expenses.

Elector organization membership 

Members are eligible resident and non-resident property electors of the jurisdiction where the election is being held who have met the membership requirements of the elector organization.

An elector organization must have a membership of at least 50 eligible electors (resident and/or non-resident property electors) at the time it registers with Elections BC. The organization must not be disqualified from endorsing a candidate(s) under the Local Government Act, Local Elections Campaign Financing Act or any other Act.

Elector organizations do not have to formally incorporate as a company or a society.

Elector organization representatives

Responsible principle officials

Elector organizations must appoint at least two responsible principal officials and a financial agent – an individual can fill the role of both the financial agent and a responsible principal official.

The responsible principal officials and the financial agent must be appointed prior to the elector organization submitting a registration application to Elections BC. Responsible principal officials act as the elector organization’s representatives – they are often the organization’s president or chief officer. One of these responsible principal officials must be designated to act as the authorized principal official.

The authorized principal official is the person who appoints the financial agent and makes candidate endorsements, on the elector organization’s behalf. The authorized principal official is also responsible for retaining the elector organization’s campaign financing records.

Financial agent

The financial agent is legally responsible for ensuring that the financial aspects of the elector organization comply with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

The financial agent has a wide range of financial responsibilities, including:

  • Opening and depositing contributions to, and paying election-related expenses from, an elector organization’s campaign account
  • Recording campaign contributions, permissible loans and election expenses
  • Completing campaign financing arrangements
  • Reviewing campaign contribution and permissible loan amounts in relation to an endorsed candidate’s campaign
  • Returning campaign contributions and amounts of permissible loans that exceed contribution limits
  • Filing required financial reports and disclosure statements with Elections BC

The financial agent must understand the scope of their responsibilities – failure to comply with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

Elector organization election campaigns

An elector organization election campaign is generally a connected series of actions designed to elect a candidate or a group of candidates to a municipal council, regional district board, Islands Trust local trust committee, specified parks board or board of education.

Typically, an election campaign involves elector organizations and/or candidates communicating with the electorate through:

  • Public appearances and speeches
  • Advertisements on television, radio, the Internet, in newspapers and magazines
  • Social media (for example, Facebook and Twitter)
  • Brochures, signs, posters, billboards
  • Mail inserts and newsletters
  • Bumper stickers, buttons and displays and/or exhibitions
  • There are specific rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act about election advertising that elector organizations must following during the election, pre-campaign and campaign period.
  • Elector Organization Guide to Local Elections in B.C. (PDF, 302KB)

Elector organization endorsement

An elector organization may endorse candidates on the ballot by allowing its name, abbreviation or acronym to appear on the ballot beside the candidate’s name and/or promote the candidate’s election platform or the organization’s viewpoints during its election campaign.

A candidate must consent to being endorsed by an elector organization by signing the endorsement documents submitted by the elector organization to the Chief Election Officer and Elections BC.

Elector organizations must submit all required information in writing to the Chief Election Officer and Elections BC before the end of the nomination period in a general local election or by-election. The endorsement documents must include: 

  • The elector organization’s name and any abbreviations, acronyms and other names used by the organization
  • Contact information
  • The full name of the endorsed candidate and the candidate’s consent to the endorsement
  • Authorized principal official’s name and contact information

Campaign financing and election advertising

Campaign financing and election advertising rules set out under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act apply to elector organizations. These rules are administered and enforced by Elections BC and include recording and disclosing:

  • Campaign contributions
  • Permissible loans
  • Election expenses
  • Transfers and other income and expenditures

Elector organizations are also required to submit campaign financing disclosure statements and file annual financial reports with Elections BC. The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act and the Local Elections Campaign Financing Regulation set contribution limits for the election campaigns of candidates and elector organizations.

Campaign-related transactions must be recorded and disclosed to Elections BC for each election area in which the elector organization endorsed a candidate(s) and/or ran an election campaign.

An elector organization must also file annual financial reports with Elections BC detailing its finances, including campaign contributions received and all expenditures incurred.

Third party sponsors and advertising

Third party sponsors are individuals or organizations that sponsor election advertising independently from candidates and elector organizations. Third party sponsors must register with Elections BC before conducting advertising during the pre-campaign and campaign periods.

Third party sponsors are subject to campaign financing disclosure requirements under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

Local elections legislation