September 12, 2017
For Immediate Release

‎PC’s Call for House to Open to Amend Unconstitutional Provisions on Special Balloting

‎Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition is calling for the House of Assembly to be reconvened immediately – ahead of any vacancy – to amend the special ballot provisions of the Elections Act that‎ the court just ruled unconstitutional.

Davis said, “Under the current legislation – specifically, the House of Assembly Act and the Elections Act, 1991 – certain things are triggered the moment a seat becomes vacant, and those things would ordinarily include the special ballot provisions that the court has now ruled‎ unconstitutional. It is imperative and urgent that we fix those provisions so any by-elections can proceed fairly and constitutionally, allowing for special ballot voting for those who need to avail of it, but with new provisions that respect the court decision.”

Section 54 of the House of Assembly Act requires a by-election to be called within 60 days of a vacancy, and section 58 of the Elections Act, 1991‎ requires a by-election to be held within 30 clear days after it is called.

A recent court decision ruled the special ballot provisions of sections 86 through 86.10 of the Elections Act, 1991 ‎to be unconstitutional and‎ therefore of no effect because they allow people to vote before all candidates declare.

Davis said, “I am calling for the House of Assembly to be reconvened immediately to amend the Elections Act, 1991 ‎to ensure we have special ballot provisions that reflect the court’s decision and are constitutionally valid.”

“We now know that a vacancy will occur on October 10, and there is always the possibility of a vacancy occurring even sooner, so our election legislation must be fixed before that happens to ensure the most fundamental democratic processes in our society will be lawful and precisely defined,” added Davis.

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean
Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca