Referendum on Electoral Reform
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... will be able to participate in the referendum debate through paid advertising, but they must account for ... election expense and may not exceed the applicable election expense ...

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Presentation Transcript
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Referendum on Electoral Reform

[NOTE:  The Electoral Reform Referendum 2009 Act Regulation was amended, effective December 12, 2008, to permit registered political parties and candidates to engage in referendum advertising. 

Parties and candidates will be able to participate in the referendum debate through paid advertising, but they must account for their referendum advertising as an election expense and may not exceed the applicable election expense limits.

There were no regulatory changes respecting referendum advertisers other than political parties and candidates.  Non-party and non-candidate referendum advertisers are not subject to any spending limits and they must ensure that they do not combine referendum advertising and election advertising.]


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Referendum dates and process

  • Referendum on electoral reform will be held in conjunction with May 12, 2009 general election

  • Referendum follows same calendar as election

  • “Thin layer” on election; voting and voter registration processes the same for election and referendum


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Referendum legislation

  • Referendum rules established by Electoral Reform Referendum 2009 Act and associated Regulation

  • Legislation establishes referendum question, voting and counting rules, and rules for advertising sponsors and proponent/opponent groups



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Referendum Advertising

  • Definition

  • Proponent/opponent groups

  • Third party advertising sponsors

  • Election advertising and referendum advertising

  • Political parties and candidates and referendum advertising


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Referendum Advertising Defined

  • Section 1 – Electoral Reform Referendum 2009 Act

    • Advertising used during the referendum campaign period to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, a specific response in voting in the referendum, but does not include ……


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Not Referendum Advertising

  • News, editorials, interviews, columns, letters, debates, speeches or commentaries published without charge in a bona fide periodical on a radio or tv program

  • Distributing or promoting a book, for no less than fair value, if the book was to be made public regardless of the referendum

  • Transmitting a document directly by a person or group to their members, employees or shareholders

  • Individuals transmitting personal views on the referendum on a non-commercial basis via the internet, text or phone


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Proponent and Opponent Groups

  • One each

  • Selected by Ministry of Attorney General

  • Funded by Elections BC

  • Public money must be used to support or oppose the STV electoral system

  • Not for election advertising

  • Not for political contributions

  • Disclosure reports required


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Third Party Referendum Advertisers

  • Must be registered with EBC

  • No spending limits

  • Disclosure reports

  • Must not, directly or indirectly, promote or oppose a registered political party or a candidate

  • Advertising must not form part of election advertising


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Political Parties & Candidates

  • Registered referendum advertising sponsors must be independent of registered political parties, registered constituency associations, candidates and agents

  • Must not sponsor referendum advertising on behalf of or together with any of these

  • Parties, candidates, etc. cannot register as referendum advertising sponsors


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What Can Parties & Candidates Do & Not Do?

  • Can:

    • Make speeches promoting or opposing STV

    • Discuss STV in interviews published by bona fide periodicals and on TV and radio

    • Parties can send pro or con STV documents directly to their members

    • Make referendum contributions to opponent & proponent groups

  • Must not:

    • Include STV information in election campaign literature or signs or in ads

    • Promote or oppose STV on website

    • Host rallies supporting or opposing STV


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