Québec City, February 3, 2006 – The Chief Electoral Officer, Me Marcel Blanchet, would like to highlight the fact that the rules governing the financing of candidates and the control of election expenses apply throughout the current election period for the election of February 19, 2006, at electoral division no. 15 of the Eastern Townships School Board.
Those interested in participating in the election have until January 22, 2006 to file their nomination papers. To do so, they have to complete a nomination and submit it to the returning officer of the school board.
Contributions by Electors
The rules contained in the Act Respecting School Elections permits candidates to solicit and receive contributions. However, candidates first have to first obtain an authorization from the returning officer of the school board.
It should be recalled that only an elector of the school board can make a contribution to an authorized candidate and that it is forbidden for companies, unions or other associations to contribute. Contributions have to be made to the authorized candidate directly or to people that he or she designates in writing to receive contributions.
The total contributions made by the same elector to each of the authorized candidates during the same calendar year cannot exceed $1 000, up to a maximum of $3 000 per elector. A duly completed receipt has to be given to the donor for every contribution made.
During the election period, there is a cap for the election expenses of authorized candidates. The Act defines an “election expense” as the cost of all goods and services used during the election period to promote the election of a candidate. The maximum is set from a basic amount of $2 700, plus $0.42 per person entered on the list of electors of the electoral division.
Furthermore, within 90 days after polling day, approved candidates have to submit to the director general of the school board an election expense return and a financial report in order to report their sources of financing and the nature of their expenses.
It should be mentioned that a candidate who has been elected or who obtains at least 15% of valid votes during the election to the position in question is entitled, under certain conditions, to a reimbursement of part of his election expenses by the director general of the school board. Hence, for the first $500 of expenses, the reimbursement is equal to 75% of his expenses and any extra amount is reimbursed at 50%. However, the amount of the reimbursement shall not exceed the total debts arising from his expenses and the amount of his personal contribution.
Teams are Recognized
It is worth noting that teams were recognized by the returning officer during the last general election and they will also be recognized for the coming election.
The power to spend, solicit and receive contributions or take out loans for the election is given only to authorized candidates and not to the team.
The Role of the Chief Electoral Officer
It should be noted that the Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for applying the rules governing the financing of candidates and the control of election expenses contained in the Act Respecting School Elections. Although the Chief Electoral Officer does not directly administer school elections he may, upon request, provide any form of assistance to the returning officer that the latter requires to perform his duties. He also has the power to launch investigations and to take legal action.