The Municipal Elections Act (MEA) has been amended, changing the commencement of the filing period for candidate nomination papers. In the past, the filing period began on January 1 in an Election year. The filing period now starts May 1, 2018.
The MEA further stipulates a campaign cannot begin until nomination papers have been submitted. Prior to the filing of nomination papers initiating the commencement of a campaign, individuals cannot raise or spend money for campaigning purposes.
- Shorter nomination period
- Shorter election campaign period
- Nomination day (the deadline to file a nomination) has been moved to the fourth Friday in July (July 27, 2018)
- Several changes have been made to other key dates and deadlines
Nomination and Eligibility
- Candidates seeking office on Council must submit 25 endorsement signatures from eligible electors with their nomination (does not apply to candidates running for school board trustee positions)
Changes to Campaign Finance Rules
- Contributions by corporations and trade unions to candidates are banned, however, corporations and trade unions can contribute to third party advertisers
- Anonymous and cash contributions cannot exceed $25
- A new spending limit for post-election parties and expressions of appreciation after voting day has been established. The spending limit is calculated as 10% of the maximum campaign expenses for the ward(s) in which the candidate is running
- Every candidate will be entitled to a refund of the nomination fee if they file their campaign financial statement and, if needed, the auditor's report by the deadline
- A candidate may resubmit their financial statement to correct an error up until the filing deadline
- The City Clerk is required to publicly identify the candidates and third parties who filed or did not file a financial statement
- A candidate who misses the filing deadline may file within a 30 day grace period provided they pay a $500 late filing fee to the City Clerk
- There will be a new process regarding contribution limits. The City Clerk who conducted the election is responsible for reviewing the contributions that are reported on the financial statements to council and trustee candidates as well as third party advertisers
Third Party Advertising
- The Municipal Elections Act now includes a framework for third party advertising. The framework will come into effect on April 1, 2018, so that the rules will be in place for the 2018 municipal election. A third party advertisement is a message in any medium (billboard, newspaper, radio, etc.) that supports or opposes a candidate or a “yes” or “no” vote on a question on the ballot.
- Individuals, corporations and unions can register as third party advertisers and can also make contributions to third party advertisers. Third party advertisers will need to register with the municipality where they want to advertise. If they want to advertise in more than one municipality, they have to register in each municipality. Regulations for spending limit amounts and forms have not yet been made.
Election Advertising Requirements
- Candidates and third party advertisers are required to identify themselves on campaign advertisements and signs, so that it is clear who is responsible for each sign and advertisement that appears or is broadcast.
Campaign provisions have been clarified to allow candidates to access apartment buildings, condominiums, non-profit housing co-ops or gated communities from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in order to campaign. Landlords and condominium corporations will not be allowed to prohibit tenants or owners from displaying campaign signs in their windows.
Another change prohibits voters from taking photographs or videos of their marked ballots. In addition, members of the public are able to inspect documents and materials related to the election for 120 days after the results of the election have been declared.
The City Clerk is now required to not only declare who wins the election but also provide the public with information regarding the number of votes received by each candidate, the number of votes for “yes” and “no” for a question on the ballot, and the number of declined and rejected ballots.
The City Clerk has greater flexibility in determining how certain election documents may be submitted and how notices are sent out.
The City Clerk is now required to prepare a plan for the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect voters and candidates with disabilities, and make the plan available to the public before voting day in a regular election.
The City of London will be conducting a ranked ballot election in 2018
- London's Elections Office sought online public input for several months and held four public information/engagement sessions across the city leading up to May 1, 2017. The feedback received was presented to Council, who ultimately made the decision to move forward in 2018 using Ranked Choice Voting.