Prince Edward Island, Canada, regional Obligatory referendum [LOR] - Referendum (Electoral system)

General Typology

Instrument
Obligatory referendum [LOR]
Location
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Referendum (Electoral system)
Normative Level:
statutory
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

2. Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to make the process for the referendum transparent and fair in order to obtain a clear expression of the will of Islanders, by
(a) establishing the referendum question to enable the expression of a sovereign decision by Islander as to their electoral future;
(b) providing for the appointment of a Referendum Commissioner who is an officer of the Legislative Assembly and who will oversee related matters leading up to and after the referendum vote; and
(c) establishing a level playing field for those who wish to publicly oppose or support a change to the voting system as set out in the referendum question, by providing for equal public funding for organizations who register as registered referendum advertisers and are opposing or supporting one or the other of the possible answers to the referendum question, and by limiting spending on paid advertising in a reasonable  manner, for the public good, so that residents of the province have the opportunity to make a decision that is based on information from both points of view.

3. Referendum on electoral system required
(1) A referendum respecting the mixed member proportional voting system shall be conducted throughout the province in conjunction with the general election.

Question
(2) At the referendum, a person who is entitled to vote may indicate his or her approval or disapproval in respect of the referendum by answering the following question:
“Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?”

(3) Form of question
The question shall appear on the referendum ballot paper as set out in Schedule 1 to this Act.

(4) Persons entitled to vote
Persons who are entitled to vote at the general election are entitled to vote at the referendum.

4. When referendum is binding
(1) The result of the referendum is binding on the Government only if
(a) more than 50% of the validly cast referendum ballots vote the same way on the question; and
(b) in at least 60% of electoral districts, more than 50% of the validly cast referendum ballots vote the same way on the question.

Duty if binding
(2) Where

(a) the result of the referendum is binding in accordance with subsection (1); and
(b) the electors referred to in that subsection vote in favour of adopting a mixed member proportional system, the Government shall take steps that the Government considers necessary or advisable to implement the result of the referendum, including introducing the legislation needed to implement a mixed member proportional system that is substantially as described in Schedule 2 to this Act, in sufficient time for that voting system to be in place for the next following general election required under the Election Act.

5. Referendum Commissioner
(1) There shall be a Referendum Commissioner to guide the referendum process, including by engaging the public in the process and providing public education related to the referendum.

6. Powers and duties of Referendum Commissioner

The Referendum Commissioner shall
(a) implement public education and information programs relating to the referendum, referendum advertising and voting systems, including the mixed member proportional system as described in Schedule 2 to this Act;
(b) take the steps that he or she considers necessary to assist individuals and eligible organizations to organize to register as registered referendum advertisers;
(c) take the steps that he or she considers necessary to register eligible referendum advertisers in a timely manner;
(d) issue to the members and financial agents of registered referendum advertisers the instructions that he or she considers necessary to ensure the effective execution of the provisions of this Act;
(e) announce the final result of the referendum, after the completion of the count under the Election Act, in a manner that the Referendum Commissioner considers will inform the public of that result;
(f) provide a report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly as set out in section 7; and
(g) perform such other duties as are assigned to him or her by this Act.
(..)

22. Referendum vote to be conducted under Election Act
(1) The Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for the conduct of the referendum vote and the counting of the referendum votes, in accordance with the Election Act and this Act.

(..)

References: Prince Edward Island Electoral System Referendum Act Chapter E-2.2 (accessed Juli 17, 2021)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum respecting the mixed member proportional voting system.

Actors

Author:
Parliament
Initiator:
Law
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Available Time:
Turnout Quorum:
see approval quorum
Approval Quorum:
More than 50% of valid votes. In at least 60% of electoral districts, more than 50% of the validly cast referendum ballots vote the same way on the question.
Geographical Quorum:
see approval quorum
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Wording Of Ballot Question:
Interaction With Authorities:

8.
Referendum advertiser to be identified on referendum advertising
(5) A referendum advertiser shall identify himself, herself or itself in any referendum advertising that he, she or it places, and shall indicate that he, she or it has authorized the advertising.

9. Registration
(1)  An eligible referendum advertiser may apply to be registered in accordance with this section.


Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

8. Restrictions on pre-referendum expenses - individuals
(1) Only an individual who may make contributions under section 16 may incur pre-referendum expenses.

Restrictions on pre-referendum expenses - organizations
(2) Only an organization that meets all the following requirements may incur pre-referendum expenses:
(a) the organization has no fewer than five members;
(b) the organization is not for profit;
(c) the members and any directors of the organization are not compensated for being members or directors of the organization;
(d) membership in the organization is voluntary;
(e) at least two-thirds of the principal members of the organization have been ordinarily resident in the province for at least six months immediately before July 1, 2018.

Restriction on unregistered referendum advertisers
(3) An unregistered referendum advertiser shall not incur referendum expenses that exceed $1,000 in total.

Association with other unregistered referendum advertisers
(4) If an unregistered referendum advertiser is in compliance with subsection (1) or (2), as applicable, an unregistered referendum advertiser may associate with other unregistered referendum advertisers, but the unregistered referendum advertisers in association shall not collectively incur referendum expenses that exceed $10,000 in total.

Financial agent required

(2)  Before applying to be registered, a referendum advertiser shall appoint a financial agent.


12 (..) 

9 (4) Financing reports
Financial agents shall, within 90 days after ordinary polling day, file financing reports with the Referendum Commissioner, in a form approved by the Referendum Commissioner, accompanied by the invoices, receipts and other vouchers and an affidavit of the financial agent verifying the report and stating that no payment not permitted by this Act was made with his or her knowledge and consent and that to the best of his or her knowledge and belief every expense incurred is entered in the report.

Referendum advertiser to be identified on referendum advertising
(5) The financial agent of a registered referendum advertiser shall identify himself or herself and the registered referendum advertiser in any referendum advertising that he, she or it places, and shall indicate that the registered referendum advertiser has authorized the advertising.

16. Contributions to referendum advertisers
(1) A referendum advertiser
(a) shall only accept contributions from individuals who are ordinarily resident in the province;
(b) shall only use contributions received from individuals who are ordinarily resident in the province; and
(c) shall not accept contributions from any one individual that in total exceed $1,000.

Amounts
(6) The total amount to be paid to each of the registered referendum advertisers shall be determined as follows:
(a) the $75,000 allocated under subclause (5)(a)(i) shall be divided by the number of registered referendum advertisers that identified as opponents and have applied for a share of the public money, and the resulting amount paid to each of them;
(b) the $75,000 allocated under subclause (5)(a)(ii) shall be divided by the number of registered referendum advertisers that identified as proponents and have applied for a share of the public money, and the resulting amount paid to each of them.


Practice

Archive:
Remarks: