Elections N.B. makes recommendations to modernize electoral legislation

Chief Electoral Officer Kim Poffenroth tabled a discussion document yesterday before members of the standing committee on procedure, privileges and legislative officers.

According to a press release, the document contains 108 recommendations which propose amendments to the Elections Act, the Political Process Financing Act and the Municipal Elections Act.

Poffenroth says that making these recommendations is an important step in achieving Elections New Brunswick's strategic goal of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the electoral processes it oversees.

The recommendations include:
- Eliminating the political appointment of the returning officers who manage provincial and municipal elections and establishing a competitive, competency-based hiring process.
- Eliminating the restrictions on advertising on election day and the day preceding.
- Creating a register of "future electors."
- Establishing a new role of financial agent, who would be responsible for all financial matters of a political entity.
- Introducing one comprehensive financial return for district associations and their candidates for filing in election years.
- Introducing vote-by-mail for any municipal by-election or local service district plebiscite held between general elections.

Poffenroth says, "Although members of the legislative assembly establish electoral legislation, the chief electoral officer is the individual charged with administering this legislation. In this role, it is incumbent that I make recommendations for legislative amendments for the better administration of the electoral process and the political financing process."

Elections N.B. invites those interested, including stakeholders with direct ties to the electoral processes administered by the organization to review the recommendations and provide feedback before Monday September 30.

The feedback will help to form the final recommendations that will be submitted to the government for modernizing the necessary legislation.