Process in British Columbia -
OverviewThe Recall and Initiative
Act allows voters in British Columbia to petition to remove a Member of
the Legislative Assembly (MLA) between elections.
The Application ProcessAn individual can apply to the Chief Electoral
Officer for a petition for the recall of the Member of the Legislative Assembly
(MLA) for the electoral district in which the applicant is registered to vote. A
Member cannot be recalled during the first 18 months after his or her election.
A registered voter who wants to start a recall petition must obtain an
application from the Chief Electoral Officer. A completed application consists
of a fully completed and signed application form, a 200 word, or less, statement
of why, in the applicant�s opinion, the Member should be recalled, and a
non-refundable $50 processing fee.
Approval in PrincipleIf the application is complete and meets the
requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act, the Chief Electoral
Officer notifies the proponent, the Member and the Speaker of the Legislative
Assembly that approval has been granted and that a petition will be issued
within seven days.The Recall and Initiative Act allows voters in British
Columbia to propose new laws or changes to existing laws.
The Application ProcessAny registered voter can apply to have a
petition issued to gather support for a legislative proposal. A legislative
proposal (or draft Bill) can be on any matter within the constitutional
jurisdiction of the provincial Legislature.
Recall Petition PeriodWhen a petition is issued to the proponent, the
proponent has 60 days to collect signatures from 40 percent of the voters who
were registered to vote in the Member�s electoral district at the last election,
and who are currently registered as voters in British Columbia.
Canvasser RegistrationA proponent may be helped by volunteers to gather
signatures. The volunteers are called �canvassers�. Canvassers must be
registered voters and must have been a resident of British Columbia for at least
six months before the date on which they intend to begin canvassing. Registered
voters may apply to be canvassers any time after the application is submitted to
the Chief Electoral Officer.
Collecting Signatures on the PetitionA recall petition may only be
signed by individuals who:
An individual may only sign any one recall petition once,
and their signature must be accompanied by their residential address at which
the person is registered as a voter. All signatures must be witnessed by the
individual who canvassed the signature (a registered canvasser).
- were registered to vote in the Member�s electoral district on General
Voting Day for the Member�s last election; and,
- are registered to vote anywhere in the Province at the time they sign the
Submitting PetitionThe proponent must submit, at one time, all of the
petition pages containing signatures to the Chief Electoral Officer. The
petition period ends when the proponent submits the petition to the Chief
Electoral Officer, regardless of whether the full 60 days have elapsed. If the
petition is not received within 60 days, it fails.
Petition VerificationWhen a petition is submitted, the Chief Electoral
Officer has 42 days to complete the verification process. The first stage of the
verification process is a preliminary count of the signatures. This is to ensure
that enough signatures have been obtained. If there are not enough signatures,
the petition fails and the proponent and the Member are notified.
If there are enough signatures, the petition signatures are verified to
ensure that the people who signed the petition were entitled to do so, and that
the signatures on the petition match the signatures on file for those voters.
Signatures that do not include the residential address of the voter who signed
the petition will not be counted. The registration status of canvassers is also
verified to ensure that signatures were gathered by authorized individuals.
By-electionIf the verification process shows that sufficient valid
signatures are on the petition, and the financing requirements have been met by
the proponent, the Member ceases to hold office and a by-election must be called
within 90 days. A recalled Member can be a candidate in the by-election.
Recall Financing and CommunicationsThere are important financing rules
that participants must follow regarding the disclosure and limits of
expenditures and financial contributions permitted during the recall process.
Recall advertising can only be conducted by an authorized participant or a
registered advertising sponsor.
Penalties for Recall OffencesIt is very important that participants
follow the provisions outlined in the legislation. Non-compliance can result in
significant penalties, such as being fined up to $10,000 and/or being imprisoned
for up to two years. In the case of a Member, the Member will also cease to hold
office. In the case of a proponent, the recall petition fails.
Elections BC�s Role in the ProcessElections BC is the non-partisan
administrator of the recall process. Elections BC ensures that the recall
process is conducted in a fair and impartial fashion.