REPORT OF THE
CITIZENS' ASSEMBLY
FOR STRONGER ELECTIONS NL

CASE NL is a diverse collective of people who want to make municipal elections more accessible and inclusive for voters, improve the diversity of candidates and make the process more democratic. We're pleased to release our report and call on Municipal and Provincial governments to make meaningful change for stronger elections.

Calls to Action

Improving Access to Voting

Enfranchisement of Students and Permanent Residents

Enfranchisement - Calls to Action for Municipal Councils:

  • Resolve to allow permanent residents to vote if and when the province has made the necessary legislative changes.

  • Lobby the Provincial Government to amend the necessary legislation to grant permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections.

  • Lobby the Provincial Government to amend the necessary legislation to change the voting day to enfranchise student voters.

 

Enfranchisement - Calls to Action for Provincial Government:

  • Amend the necessary legislation to grant permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections.​

  • Undertake to review alternate dates for municipal elections (October being the most common) that would enfranchise students and improve inclusivity of parents as voters and candidates.

  • Amend the necessary legislation to change the voting day to enfranchise student voters.

Improving Diversity of Candidates

Electoral Systems

Call to Action for Municipal Councils:

  • Increase proportionality, reduce strategic voting and promote a more equitable democratic process by adopting a ranked ballot for the municipal electoral system.
     

Calls to Action for Provincial Government:

  • Amend the Municipal Elections Act to expressly allow for different electoral systems including ranked ballots and empower municipalities with the authority to determine the electoral system that is best for them.

Voting Method

Calls to Action for Municipal Councils:

  • Conduct an independent review to determine whether the mail-in-ballot system met the objectives of increasing accessibility, improving and diversifying voter turnout and providing cost savings.

  • Consult with community partners and stakeholders including the differently abled, and seniors, to identify and implement mechanisms to ensure accessibility and engagement for all residents.  

  • Consider whether online voting is appropriate in the community and if so, engage in further study to ensure the process remains secure and accessible.

 

Calls to Action for Provincial Government:

  • Amend the Municipal Elections Act to expressly allow for different online voting and empower municipalities with the authority to determine whether online voting is best for them.

Improving the Democratic Process

Safeguards to Ensure a Free, Fair, and Transparent Election Process

Transparency - Call to Action for St. John’s City Council:

  • Give satellite drop-off centres the same procedural protections that exist at polling stations, including fully empowered scrutineers and a prohibition on campaigning near polling stations.

 

Voter List - Call to Action for St. John’s City Council:

  • Continue to use provincial data to produce the most inclusive possible voter list.

Council Structure - Call to Action for Municipal Councils:

  • Further study the current and other potential council structures (i.e. ward and/or at-large councillors) and the method of determining the roles mayor and deputy mayor to determine the best fit for your community.

 

Campaign Finance - Calls to Action for Municipal Councils:

  • Reduce expenditure caps based on the real need of campaigns, the effect on barriers for new candidates, and the relationship with voter engagement

  • Ban corporate and union donations based on public trust concerns, and barriers for new candidates

  • Amend the necessary by-laws to reduce timeline for disclosure of campaign contributions to allow greater transparency of donors

  • Amend the necessary by-laws to require disclosure of expenditures in addition to contributions to improve transparency and public trust

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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