Press release No. 9 – By-election of December 5, 2011 in Bonaventure - A first in Québec: the electors of Bonaventure will use a photo ballot paper

November 25, 2011

Quebec City, November 25, 2011 – For the first time in a Québec provincial election, the electors of the electoral division of Bonaventure will use a ballot paper that includes the photos of the candidates running in the by-election of December 5, 2011. Upon the recommendation of the Chief Electoral Officer, an agreement reached by the political parties represented at the National Assembly will make it possible to try out this alternative voting procedure. The goal is to make it simpler for certain electors to participate in the electoral process, in particular senior citizens, the disabled and the functionally illiterate.

“In this way, we are answering a request from groups representing electors who experience difficulties reading or using the typical ballot paper due to their physical constraints,” indicated the Chief Electoral Officer, Jacques Drouin. “It will be interesting to see how this initiative meets their needs and simplifies the exercising of their right to vote,” the Chief Electoral Officer added.

A ballot paper with significant changes

The brand-new ballot paper will still include the candidate’s name, his or her political party, and a black circle to be darkened by the elector.  A black and white photograph of the candidate will, however, be added beside his or her name on the ballot paper stub. With this photo, it will be simpler for electors to identify the candidate for whom they wish to vote, especially since they will have been able to look at a poster featuring the name and photograph upon entering the polling station.

In addition, the black circle, which is usually 3 mm in circumference, will be expanded to 7 mm. In the same vein, the lettering on the ballot paper will be larger, with a typographical point of 18 instead of 16. These improvements are especially designed for those who have trouble deciphering what is written on the ballot paper so that they can better designate the candidate of their choice.

The result will be a much larger ballot paper (7.5 inches wide) that should be easier for electors to use.

An experiment to be assessed

This experiment with a photo ballot paper will be evaluated in a report to be filed with the party leaders having signed the agreement that enabled it.

If applicable, the evaluation report may also recommend that the Election Act be amended so as to extend this new way of exercising the right to vote to other elections.

The new ballot paper will be in use as of today, when voting at an elector’s domicile,  mobile polling in certain health-care institutions, and voting at the office of the returning officer has all be dun.  Incidentally, advance polling will take place this Sunday November 27 and Monday November 28 for the by-election in Bonaventure.

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Categories : Provincial, By-elections