Would-be candidates attend last city info session
'You cannot accept anonymous contributions:' returning officer
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 06:00 am
As nomination day approaches, municipal election candidates are gearing up and getting the information they need to run their campaigns.
At a city-run information session on Wednesday, several municipal councillor candidates and both declared mayoral candidates could be spotted listening intently to legislative services personnel.
Chris Belke, chief legislative officer for the city and the returning officer for the election, ran through information applicable to both voters and candidates and some candidate-specific directions.
This year, St. Albert residents will be direct-mailed “where to vote” cards that will direct them to the voting station for their electoral subdivision so they can cast their ballot Oct. 21.
“That’s a new piece that we’re adding,” Belke said.
There are eight different locations for the nine electoral subdivisions in St. Albert on election day. Advanced voting will be available in the East Boardroom at St. Albert Place on Oct. 10, 12, 15, 17 and 19. On Tuesdays and Thursdays of advanced voting, electors can cast a ballot between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. On the two Saturdays advanced voting is open, go between 9 a.m. and noon.
Belke said there are special mail in ballots which may be applied for by electors who cannot attend advanced voting or election day because of physical incapacity, absence from the local jurisdiction or because they are working the election in a capacity like returning officer or scrutineer.
Institutional voting ahead of time will be available at some long-term care facilities, and residents who are confined to the Sturgeon Community Hospital can vote at the hospital on election day.
The identification rules have also changed – identification is required to vote in this municipal election.
“The ID requirement is new for this year,” Belke said.
A list of acceptable identification, polling stations, advanced voting dates and other election related-information can be located at www.stalbert.ca/election.
Nomination day is Monday, Sept. 23. Candidates have to file their nomination papers between 8 a.m. and noon at the East Boardroom in St. Albert Place, though candidates can send someone to file their papers for them.
Belke reminded candidates that a minimum of five nominators must have signed the form and all of those nominators have to be eligible electors in St. Albert.
“Don’t take the chance, get a couple extra signatures,” Belke advised.
The forms have to be signed and commissioned and candidates have 24 hours to withdraw. They’ll also be asked to sign a consent to release information – which is not mandatory, and to supply a photo.
The city will put candidate photos and contact information on the municipal website but no other campaign material.
Belke said each candidate can have one representative from their campaign – either themselves, their official agent or a scrutineer – at each voting station to observe at a time. Objections can be noted if there is a concern someone is not a valid voter, but Belke asked such objections be made discreetly.
“My request would be don’t make a scene about it,” he said.
Belke reminded the would-be councillors and mayors of their financial disclosure responsibilities. The disclosure needs to be filed by March 1.
On the disclosure, the name and address of any donor who gave in aggregate over $100 must be recorded. The total of contributions from single donors whose individual donations did not exceed $100 also must be reported, though Belke warned even though the names do not need to be submitted for the disclosure, candidates should track all donations.
“You cannot accept anonymous contributions,” Belke said. If someone walks up on the street and gives a candidate $20 for their campaign anonymously, the candidate should “give that 20 bucks right back.”
There are many other rules around campaign finances that are part of the Local Authorities Election Act. Belke told the gathering it’s a candidate’s responsibility to be aware of all the different legislation that relates to their campaign, which also includes municipal bylaws pertaining to sign size and other items.
“As a candidate, it’s your obligation to understand the rules,” he said.
The city has several rules around election signage, which is not permitted to be posted, unless there is a development permit in place for the sign, before noon on nomination day.