Bill 85 welcomed but province encouraged to take reforms further

By Gordon Lambie
Bill 85 welcomed but province encouraged to  take reforms further

Last week Andrée Laforest, Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing presented Bill 85 to the National Assembly, proposing measures to help improve the accessibility of voting in this fall’s municipal elections in light of the large chance that it will be taking place under ongoing pandemic conditions. The bill expands the accessibility of the voting process by broadening the use of mail-in ballots to more vulnerable members of the population and by extending the election period by one week.
According to Elections Quebec, mail-in voting was already permitted in municipal elections at the discretion of the municipality in question, but only in the case of property owners who do not live in the community full time.
Under the provisions of Bill 85, the list of people entitled to send in a vote by mail would be broadened to include people living in private seniors residences and long term care homes, electors unable to move about for health reasons, electors acting as informal caregivers for those unable to move for health reasons and living in the same domicile as the latter and of any elector whose isolation is ordered or recommended by public health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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