The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, tabled yesterday (February 10) at the National Assembly, Bill 85 which aims to facilitate the conduct of the municipal election on November 7, in the context of of the pandemic. The ministry said that although it is difficult to presume the evolution of the pandemic, it may be necessary to adapt some electoral rules. In the current context, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing wants returning officers to benefit from better predictability regarding the applicable rules.
"It is essential to ensure a good organization and a smooth running of the municipal general election of November 7, 2021. During the election period, our Bill 85 will provide for the same health measures as those put in place during the various by-elections that have taken place so far. There is therefore more predictability and more flexibility that would be granted from time to time to the DGEQ. Thus, citizens of all regions will be able to vote safely. At the same time, I would like to pay tribute in advance to the creativity that potential candidates will display in their election campaigns. Municipal politics plays a big role in our daily lives and in our living environments, so I am proud to table a bill that will help promote electoral participation and the exercise of the right to vote, ”declared Minister Andrée Laforest.
In this context, the bill would authorize the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ) to modify by regulation the electoral rules provided for in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities for the next election. The regulation would be made by the DGEQ after consultation with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Health and Social Services. The DGEQ could adapt certain applicable rules if it finds that it is necessary to act. Certain rules would make it possible to establish the conditions and modalities of postal voting, to provide for additional voting days, to define the functions of election officials and to adjust the conditions and modalities applicable to any declaration of candidacy.
• During the next municipal general election, more than 1,100 municipalities will have to hold elections simultaneously. In 2017, this exercise involved around 12,000 candidates and 8,000 elected officials.
• Note that with regard to municipal by-elections, specific measures were taken by order of the Minister of Health and Social Services. However, these remain dependent on the maintenance of the declaration of a health emergency or any decisions of the Quebec government. The decrees therefore do not provide the predictability necessary for the holding of the general election. Consequently, the Government of Quebec has taken the initiative of tabling this bill in order to ensure that the rules that will apply are known quickly.