Electoral glossary

 

A

Addition of votes

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An event that takes place the day after an election was held at a time and place determined by the Returning Officer. During the addition of the votes, the election staff uses the Statements of Vote forms to compile the votes expressed in favour of each candidate for election.

Advance voting, advance poll

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A poll held prior to the election day(s). The dates, times and locations of advance polls are published in the Notice of Poll and are available online. Advance polling allows an elector who wishes to vote before election day to do so.

Agglomeration Council

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A decision-making body composed of thirty-one elected officials from the city of Montréal and the reconstructed on-island cities that make up the Montréal Urban Agglomeration.  Members of the agglomeration council make decisions on property assessments, security services, social housing and water supply. The Montreal city council decides how the city’s agglomeration representatives will exercise their votes.

B

Ballot box

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An official box used to receive completed ballots from electors. The ballot box must be made of sturdy material. It has a narrow opening so that ballots can be inserted but not removed without the ballot box being opened by the scrutineer at the time of vote counting.

Ballot or ballot paper

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A paper on which electors (voters) indicate their choice. The ballot paper contains the surnames, first names and parties (if any) of the candidates. Voters mark the ballot with a pencil in the circle opposite the candidate of their choice. Voters who are unable to mark their own ballot may request assistance.

Board of Revisors

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A group of three persons responsible for updating the list of electors in the run-up to an election. The revisors who form the board of revisors are appointed by the Returning Officer. They evaluate requests from people who wish to be entered on the list, make corrections to information concerning themselves or, for example, to have their name struck off (removed) from the electoral list. A board of revisors sits during a time period determined by the AERM and the Returning Officer.

Borough

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Administrative division of the city to which is attached a borough council, a body where decisions are made, particularly with respect to urban planning, the road network and recreation. The 19 Montréal boroughs vary in size in terms of both the number of elected officials and of electors. The boroughs contribute to preserving local character and providing local services.

Borough council

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A body that makes decisions and adopts by-laws, principally in matters of urban planning, roads, permits, culture and recreation specific to that borough. Montréal has nineteen borough councils, each composed of the borough mayor and the councillors elected within that borough.

Borough councillor

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A person elected by ballot to sit on his or her borough council, where he or she represents the population of his or her borough or district. Montréal has 38 borough councillors elected every four years.

Borough Mayor

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A person elected by the voters of his or her borough. The borough mayor represents the population of his or her borough on city council. She or he also sits on the borough council alongside other elected councillors from the borough. Montréal has 19 borough mayors. The city mayor automatically becomes the borough mayor of Ville-Marie.

By-Election

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When a vacancy occurs in an elected council position, an election for that office is organized. The electors who are affected (in a district or borough, for example) are invited to vote in the by-election. The person who wins this vote remains in office until a general election is held.

C

Candidate

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A person who is nominated and accepts to run for an elected office somewhere in Ville de Montréal. In order to officially become a candidate, interested persons must file a duly completed nomination form with the Returning Officer. At the end of the poll, the candidate who receives the most votes will hold the position for a period of four years.

Chief Electoral Officer of Québec

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The person (and agency) responsible for the administration of provincial elections, the permanent list of electors and the oversight of political party financing and election expenses. The Chief Electoral Officer’s department (Élections Québec) can make recommendations and, upon request, provide assistance to Returning Officers. This institution is under the authority of the Québec National Assembly.

City councillor or municipal councillor

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A person elected by ballot to sit on the city council and the council of his or her borough, where he or she represents the population of his or her borough or district. Montréal has 46 city councillors elected every four years.

City (Municipal) Council

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The main decision-making body of the city of Montréal, composed of 65 elected members. The city council is made up of the city mayor, the 18 borough mayors and the 46 city councillors. City council meetings are usually held on the 3rd or 4th Monday of each month.

City Mayor

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A person elected by all the voters of the city. The city mayor represents the entire population of Montréal. She or he appoints the members of the Executive Committee, has the right to monitor the city and guides the implementation of projects. The city mayor automatically becomes the borough mayor of Ville-Marie.

Counting of the votes

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A procedure that take place after the polls close to examine one by one the ballot papers marked by the electors. These ballot papers are meticulously compiled and a Statement of Vote is prepared. Adding together the numbers of valid votes cast in the different polling stations tells us who wins the election.

Curatorship

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A measure taken to protect and represent persons deemed incompetent. A person under curatorship is not a qualified elector and therefore cannot register on the electoral list, vote or run for office. Curatorship is not irreversible.

D

Declaration of election

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Official disclosure of those persons elected after the votes are counted. The declaration of election is made in writing and signed by the chief electoral officer and mentions the date of the declaration, the name and address of the candidate elected and the office to which the candidate is elected.

Domiciled elector

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Person entered on the list of electors by virtue of the fact that he or she is domiciled (resides) in Montréal. Domiciled electors are entered on the list of electors at the address where they reside within the city. More than 99% of the electors are domiciled in Montréal.

E

Election day or polling day

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The last day on which persons entered (registered) on the list of electors can vote in a given election. On this day, the voters exercise their right to vote at a polling place established by the Returning Officer.

Election period

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Period beginning on the 51th day before election (polling) day. The election period ends on election day at the scheduled closing time of the polling stations.

Election staff

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Polling employees such as deputy returning officers, poll clerks, information and order officers and their assistants, and also the staff of a board of revisors. Election staff includes the Returning Officer, the chief poll clerk, their assistants, returning officers and any other person whose services the Returning Officer requires in connection with the conduct of an election. Every member of the election staff must swear an oath that he or she will perform his or her duties in accordance with the law.

Elections Canada

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A federal non-partisan organization charged with conducting general elections, by-elections and referenda in federal electoral districts. Elections Canada reports to the Parliament of Canada.

Élections Montréal

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A municipal organization that organizes the holding of elections within Montréal and promotes electoral participation by citizens in a neutral, impartial and non-partisan manner. The City Clerk is ex officio the Returning Officer and therefore the head of Élections Montréal. The strength of Élections Montréal comes from the commitment of its thousands of employees.

Élections Québec

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A provincial body responsible for the administration of provincial elections, the permanent list of electors and the oversight of political party financing and election expenses. Élections Québec (headed by Québec’s Chief Electoral Officer) can make recommendations and, upon request, provide assistance to Returning Officer. Élections Québec reports to the Québec National Assembly.

Elector or voter

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A person whose name is entered on the city’s list of electors (electoral list). The electors vote for one or more candidates. Montréal has over 1.1 million qualified electors. In 2017, the average age of the city’s voters was 49.2 years.

Electoral district

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Boroughs are divided into electoral districts in such a way that they ensure a balanced representation at various decision-making bodies. Montréal’s boroughs include between two and five electoral districts. The boundaries and names of the city’s 58 electoral districts are adopted by by-law in the year preceding a general election.

Electoral framework

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Rules and process which establish the composition of the city (municipal) council and the borough councils as a function of the division of the territory into electoral districts. The electoral framework determines, among other things, which elected positions the voters of various districts will vote for. Montréal has a total of 103 elected positions.

G

General Election

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An election that is held every four years simultaneously in Montréal’s 19 boroughs and in all other Québec municipalities on the first Sunday in November. Montréal’s general election is held to fill its 103 elected positions.

L

List of Electors or Electoral List

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A list that includes the names of electors who are eligible to vote. Sometimes called the “voters list” in English. Every person who wishes to exercise his or her right to vote must appear on the list of electors. A revision process makes it possible to update the list of electors as an election approaches. After the revision period ends, it is impossible for a person to register on the list of electors.

M

Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH)

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A provincial ministry responsible for the proper administration of municipal affairs and housing. It supports municipal institutions, advises the government on municipal matters, represents the government in its dealings with municipalities and contributes to the economic, cultural and social development of the city. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is responsible for the administration of the Act Respecting Elections and Referendums in Municipalities (AERM).

Montréal Urban Agglomeration

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The territory formed by the city of Montréal and the 15 other municipalities on the island of Montréal. Elected officials from the various municipalities meet as the Agglomeration Council to make decisions on common issues.

N

Non domiciled elector

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A person entered on the list of electors by virtue of the fact that he/she is, for example, the owner or occupant of a business establishment located within the city limits. Non domiciled electors are entered on the electoral list at the address of the business establishment that they occupy or own. A given person may appear in only one place on the list of electors. Non-domiciled voters represent a small fraction of the electorate.

Nomination form

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An official document that allows an eligible person to submit their candidacy for an elected office. The nomination form must be filed at one of the offices of the Returning Officer on the appointed days and times. On the nomination form, the candidate must specify the elected office he or she is seeking and, among other things, present supporting signatures, the number of which is established by the AERM. In French, this form is referred to as a “Déclaration de candidature” or sometimes a “bulletin de candidature”.

Notice of Election

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A notice informing the public that there will be en election in Montréal. The Notice of Election is issued by the Returning Officer at the very beginning of the election period. Among other things, it indicates the positions that are open for candidates, the time and place where nomination forms must be submitted and the days and times of voting.

Notice of entry

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A card sent by postal mail to electors who are on the list of electors before the list is revised. The Notice of entry invites the persons who receive it to appear before a Board of Revisors if they notice an error or omission. In order to vote, electors must first be duly entered on the electoral list.

Notice of Poll

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A public notice published by the Returning Officer after the nomination period closes. The Notice of Poll tells voters who the candidates are and the days and times at which polling (voting) will take place.

P

Party Leader

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A person designated to lead a political party that operates within the city. The party leader has obligations under the Act Respecting Elections and Referendums in Municipalities (AERM). It is this person who confirms to the Returning Officer who are the party’s candidates for the various elected positions.

Political party

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A group of persons constituting a political organization, the primary objective of which is the presentation and support of candidates in an election. Any political party that wishes to solicit or collect contributions, incur expenses (including election expenses), or contract loans must hold an authorization from the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec. A political party often publishes policy guidelines on how to represent the population and implement municipal projects.

Poll

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Under the law, the poll, held on polling day or election day, is when electors (voters) cast their votes. Polling day is preceded by the advance poll. The election results include votes cast on polling day and at other times during the election period.

Polling station

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A furnished space where Élections Montréal receives electors who come to vote. Several polling stations are commonly located at a single polling location. A polling station is typically staffed by a deputy returning officer and a secretary. Only persons who are on the electoral list associated with a given polling station may vote there.

Polling subdivision

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A division of the list of electors within a given electoral district. Each polling subdivision of the electoral list may include a maximum of 500 electors. On election day, all electors grouped in the same polling subdivision exercise their right at one given polling station.

Proxy

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A document whereby a person, group of people or a party designates a person to act on their behalf or represent them in the former’s absence. A proxy can be signed by co-owners of a property to designate an elector, or it can be used by a party that wishes to appoint a list runner or a representative at a polling station.

Q

Qualification to vote

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Requirements to fulfil in order to vote in an election. Electors in Montréal must be persons of major age and Canadian citizens, not be under curatorship, nor be unable to vote and must meet one of these conditions: 1) be domiciled within Montréal and, for at least six months, in Québec, or 2) for at least 12 months, be an owner of an building or occupant of a business establishment located within the city.

R

Relative

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The father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandson or granddaughter of an elector or a person who is entitled to be registered on the list of electors and to vote.

Reminder card

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A card sent by postal mail to persons entered on the list of electors. The Reminder Card is sent to their address as it appears on the list of electors after revision. The Reminder Card includes the names of the candidates, the dates and polling place where the election will be held as well as the polling station number of the recipient(s). One Reminder Card is sent per address.

Representative of a candidate

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The law permits each authorized party or recognized team and each independent candidate to be represented by one person for each polling station where a vote may be cast in his or her favour. These people are the candidate’s representatives. The role of the representative is to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Returning Officer

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This person sees to the smooth running of the election, trains the election personnel and directs their work. He or she also names a chief poll clerk to assist in the work of managing the polling. The City Clerk is ex officio the Returning Officer.

Returning Officer

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This person sees to the smooth running of the election, trains the election personnel and directs their work. He or she also names a chief poll clerk to assist in the work of managing the polling. The City Clerk is ex officio the Chief Returning Officer.

Revision of the list of electors

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The revision of the list of electors is a process of updating the information that makes up the list of electors. For example, this updating allows an elector who wishes to vote to register their name on the list of electors. It also allows for the striking off or removal of names of certain persons and the correction of information pertaining to the identity of electors. When an election is to be held, the list of electors of the territory concerned by the election must be revised. Only those persons who are registered on the municipal list of electors are entitled to vote on election day. The revision of the list of electors is completed a few days before the advance poll.

S

Striking off

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The act by a board of revisors of removing an elector’s name from the list of electors. Striking off leads to the temporary or permanent removal of a person’s name from the list of electors. It is up to the board of revisors to decide whether or not to accept a request for striking off.

T

The Executive Committee

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A decision-making body that reports to the Montréal city council. The Executive Committee consists of 12 members and the city mayor. It exercises powers with respect to local and agglomeration jurisdictions. The decision-making powers of the Executive Committee notably include the granting of contracts and subsidies and the management of human and financial resources, purchasing and real estate. Regular meetings of the Executive Committee are held on Wednesdays almost every week.

V

Ville de Montréal (the city of Montréal)

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Québec’s metropolis and Canada’s second-largest city. The city of Montréal counts more than 1.1 million electors, which is just over one in five Québec voters. Under the Montréal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, citizen participation in municipal affairs contributes to strengthening confidence in democratic institutions.

Voting by mail

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Voting by mail is a choice offered to certain persons who are eligible to receive a voting kit at home in order to vote remotely. In order to vote by mail, electors who wish to do so must submit a request to the Returning Officer. He or she recommends that electors mail their completed ballot at least one week before the end of the mail voting period or drop them off in person at one of his or her offices.