In a few months, Quebecers will be called to the polls. November 7th , 2021 will be municipal election day in Quebec. In order to facilitate the conduct of the municipal general election, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest introduced Bill 85.
The Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ) welcomes the tabling of Bill 85. The UMQ admits that the next municipal election will take place in a particular context due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, the orientations proposed by the Government of Quebec constitute interesting avenues for promoting high turnout in the next municipal election, despite the health crisis.
The UMQ’s wish is that the election be conducted in a safe manner and that there be many candidates. But, certain stages pose a risk to have the applicants retreat. To run for municipal councillor or mayor, the aspiring candidate must obtain a set number of signatures. The declaration of candidacy for mayor must include the supporting signatures of at least the following number of electors in the municipality. For a municipality of less than 5,000 inhabitants, the applicant must obtain 5 signatures, 10, in the case of a municipality of 5,000 inhabitants or more but less than 20,000 inhabitants, 50, in the case of a municipality of 20,000 or more inhabitants but less than 50,000 inhabitants, 100, in the case of a municipality of 50,000 or more inhabitants but less than 100,000 inhabitants and 200, in the other cases.
As shown in a document prepared by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH), the number of signatures required has been reduced for cities with more than 100,000 residents. The threshold has been set at 50 signatures. But, one fact remains, gatherings are banned and the government insists not to receive any visitors, let alone a stranger.
“Applicants will be advised that before meeting with signatories, they ensure that the following conditions are met. Have not returned from a trip abroad for less than
14 days, have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and still be considered a carrier of the disease, have not shown symptoms of COVID-19, have not been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 for less than 14 days, not awaiting a result of the COVID-19 test and that the solicitor is aware of the greater risks for people 70 years of age and over as well as for people suffering from a chronic disease”, specifies Patrick Lemieux, communications and media relations advisor at UMQ.
In connection with the next municipal election, last December, the members of the board of directors of the UMQ unanimously adopted a resolution inviting the government of Quebec to put in place various measures in anticipation of the next municipal general elections, in particular the following:
Analyze the possibility of allowing electronic voting from the residence, promote mail-in voting, expand the possibilities of voting in residences for the elderly, extend the advance voting period, extend the hours on polling day, plan all the necessary health measures and allow municipalities to draw from the $ 100 million in reserve from assistance granted in the fall of 2020 in order to offset the additional costs of these measures.