General Local Elections Participants
Electors (voters), candidates, financial agents, scrutineers, volunteers, third party sponsors, elector organizations, local Chief Election Officers and Elections BC are the key participants in the local election process.
Electors (voters) include resident electors and non-resident property electors. Resident electors are those people that may be eligible to vote in the local election based on where they reside. Non-resident property electors are those people that reside in one jurisdiction and own property in a different jurisdiction where they can also vote.
A candidate is a person seeking election as a mayor, councillor, electoral area director, Islands Trust local trustee, local community commissioner or park board commissioner within a municipality, regional district electoral area, Trust area, community commission area or specified parks board jurisdiction. That person must be nominated by eligible electors and declared a candidate by the local Chief Election Officer.
A financial agent is a representative that candidates and elector organizations are legally required to have during an election campaign. A candidate may act as their own financial agent unless they appoint another individual to the position. The appointment of a financial agent by a candidate must be made in writing and the person must consent to the appointment.
Financial agents are responsible for administering campaign finances in accordance with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. This includes maintaining records for campaign contributions, election expenses and all other campaign transactions, and filing the required campaign financing disclosure statement with Elections BC.
Scrutineers represent candidates at voting opportunities by observing voting procedures and scrutinizing the ballot-counting process. A candidate and/or their official agent may appoint scrutineers.
Each candidate is permitted to appoint one scrutineer for each ballot box used at a voting place. A local government may pass a bylaw to permit each candidate to have more than one scrutineer present for each ballot box used at a voting place and establish specific restrictions and conditions in the bylaw as deemed necessary.
Volunteers are individuals who provide services, such as preparing and distributing flyers, calling eligible voters, handling logistics and taking on other election campaign-related activities. Candidates and elector organizations may enlist volunteer services. Third party sponsors may also use volunteers to undertake their advertising activities independent of an election campaign. A volunteer must not receive any payment or remuneration for their services.
Third Party Sponsors
A third party sponsor is an individual or organization that sponsor election advertising independently from candidates or elector organizations during the campaign period. Third party advertising includes advertising for or against a candidate or elector organization and advertising on an issue with wish a candidate or elector organization is associated. Third party sponsors must register with Elections BC.
Elector organizations may promote a candidate, group of candidates or a point of view during local elections in one or more jurisdictions.
Elector organizations are occasionally referred to as “civic political parties”. Elector organizations 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 must comply with the contribution and expense limits as well as the campaign financing disclosure requirements under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
- Elector Organization Guide to Local Elections in B.C. (PDF)
- Guide to Local Elections Campaign Financing in B.C. for Elector Organizations and their Financial Agents (PDF)
Local Chief Election Officer
Municipal councils and regional district boards appoint a local Chief Election Officer to administer general local elections and by-elections. The local Chief Election Officer must conduct the election in accordance with the Local Government Act, the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, the Vancouver Charter (in the City of Vancouver); the Community Charter, the School Act, the Offence Act and the relevant local government election bylaw.
Elections BC is the non-partisan and independent Office of the Legislature responsible for the administration of the provincial electoral process in B.C. and the campaign financing and third party advertising rules for local elections and non-election assent voting events under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act for general local elections, by-elections and assent voting in B.C.
Elections BC administers, investigates and enforces the campaign financing disclosure requirements including expense limits, campaign contribution limits and election advertising rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.