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Municipal election changes support transparency

Provincial Press Release November 4, 2020 @ 2:55pm published November 5, 2020 @ 7:40am.

Alberta’s government is taking action to ensure fairness among third-party advertisers and reducing red tape in municipal elections.

Keeping elections fair, increasing accountability and reducing red tape are the goals of the Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2).

Proposed changes to the Local Authorities Election Act include:

  • Ensuring municipal and school board elections are easily accessible and cost-effective for Albertans by holding them at the same time as a Senate vote or referendum.

  • Restricting the amount of money third-party advertisers can accept from donors in municipal elections by setting a contribution limit of $30,000 per donor per third-party advertiser.

“Municipal and school board elections should be fair, transparent and inclusive. These changes will help minimize costs associated with holding elections. The amendments are being brought forward now so municipalities and school boards have time to prepare for and comply with the new rules.” Tracy Allard, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“We support these changes. Allowing a Senate or referendum vote during a general election will increase the attention on all issues and voter turnout will improve.” Greg Sawchuk, reeve, Municipal District of Bonnyville

The proposed amendments reflect the government’s commitment to democratic reform. Quick facts

  • The next municipal and school board election will occur on Oct.18, 2021, with the nomination process beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.

  • Currently, the Local Authorities Election Act sets the standard municipal general election date as the third Monday in October, but gives municipalities the ability to set their election date as the preceding Saturday, while the Alberta Senate Election Act and Referendum Act require municipalities to hold these Senate elections and referendum votes on the third Monday in October.

  • The Local Authorities Election Act defines a third-party advertiser as an individual, corporation, or group, but not a candidate. Third-party advertisers are required to register with the municipality they intend to advertise in when they have incurred or plan to incur expenses of at least $1,000 for election advertising, or they have accepted or plan to accept at least $1,000 in election advertising contributions.

  • If passed, the changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

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