General local elections participants
Electors (voters), candidates, financial agents, official agents, scrutineers, volunteers, elector organizations, third party sponsors, Chief Election Officers and Elections BC are the key participants in local elections.
On this page:
- Financial agents
- Official agent
- Elector organizations
- Third party sponsors
- Chief election officer
- Elections BC
Electors (voters) include resident electors and non-resident property electors. Resident electors are those people that are eligible to vote in local elections 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, school trustee, Islands Trust local trustee, local community commissioner or park board commissioner within a municipality, regional district electoral area, board of education, local trust area, community commission area or specified parks board jurisdiction. That person must be nominated by eligible electors and declared a candidate by the 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 acts 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 opening and depositing contributions to, and paying election-related expenses from, a candidate’s campaign account; maintaining records for campaign contributions, election expenses and all other campaign transactions and filing the candidate’s required disclosure statement with Elections BC within 90 days following general voting day.
- Guide to Local Elections Campaign Financing in B.C. for Candidates and their Financial Agents (PDF, 864KB)
Candidates may appoint an official agent to represent them during the election process. The official agent can act as the campaign manager or spokesperson or be the point of contact for the people helping on the candidate’s election campaign.
Candidates must appoint their official agent in writing and deliver the appointment (including the name and address of the person) to the Chief Election Officer as soon as practicable after the appointment has been made.
Scrutineers, also known as “candidate representatives”, represent candidates at general local election or by-election voting opportunities (for example, general voting day) by observing voting procedures and scrutinizing the ballot-counting process following the close of voting on general voting day.
Scrutineers may challenge an elector’s right to receive a ballot during voting proceedings or challenge the acceptance of a ballot during the ballot counting process.
Volunteers are individuals who provide services, such as preparing and distributing flyers, canvassing, calling eligible voters, handling logistics and/or taking on other election campaign-related activities. Candidates and elector organizations may enlist volunteer services; however, a volunteer must not receive any payment or remuneration for their services.
Elector organizations are organizations that endorse or intend to endorse a candidate(s) in general local elections. Elector organizations may also be known as “civic political parties.”
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 must register with Elections BC and 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, 297KB)
- Guide to Elector Organization Registration (PDF, 213KB)
- Guide to Local Elections Campaign Financing in B.C. for Elector Organizations and their Financial Agents (PDF, 864KB)
Third party sponsors
A third party sponsor is an individual or organization that sponsors election advertising independently from candidates or elector organizations.
Third party advertising includes advertising for or against a candidate and/or an elector organization. In the campaign period, it also includes advertising on an issue with which a candidate or elector organization is associated.
Third party sponsors must be independent from candidates and/or elector organizations and must not coordinate, or sponsor advertising together with, or on behalf of a candidate and/or elector organization. Third party sponsors must register with Elections BC before conducting advertising during the pre-campaign and campaign periods.
Chief election officer
Municipal councils and regional district boards appoint a Chief Election Officer to administer general local elections and by-elections. The Chief Election Officer may be a senior local government employee, such as a corporate officer, or a private contractor hired to conduct the election on the local government’s behalf.
The 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 a 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 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. Elections BC also has the authority to conduct investigations of any matter that might contravene the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act and levy administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.