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2018 ACCESSIBLE ELECTION PLAN

 

Section 12.1 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996

 

12.1 (1) A clerk who is responsible for conduction an election shall have regard to the needs of electors and candidates with disabilities.

 

12.1 (2) The clerk shall prepare a plan regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the plan available to the public before voting day in a regular election.

 

12.1 (3) Within 90 days after voting day in a regular election, the clerk shall prepare a report about the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the report available to the public.

 

 

Declaration

In accordance with Section 12.1 the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, as amended, I hereby certify that the attached plan shall be followed in conducting the 2018 Municipal Elections in the Township of Black River Matheson.

Signed and dated at the Township of Black River-Matheson, in the district of Cochrane, this 27th day of September 2018.

 

 

1 Introduction

The Township of Black River-Matheson is committed to making the 2018 Municipal Election accessible by working to accommodate the needs of electors by removing barriers to vote for persons with disabilities.

The 2018 Election Accessibility Plan supports and strengthens the Municipality’s commitment and efforts to respond to the needs of persons with disabilities. The focus of this Plan is to ensure that the election is accessible to all electors and candidates, to identify and eliminate barriers for persons with disabilities and to create a positive voting experience.

2 Legislative Requirements
The Clerk is responsible for the proper legislative and administrative conduct of municipal elections in the Township of Black River-Matheson. In accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Clerk is authorized to establish procedures and provide appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have the opportunity to participate fully in the 2018 Municipal Election.
 
2.1  Municipal Elections Act, 1996, as amended
The Municipal Elections Act states the following with respect to conducting an accessible election:
12.1 (1) A clerk who is responsible for conducting an election shall have regard to the needs of electors and candidates with disabilities.
12.1 (2) The clerk shall prepare a plan regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the plan available to the public before voting day in a regular election.
12.1 (3) Within 90 days after voting day in a regular election, the clerk shall prepare a report about the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the report available to the public.
41 (3) The clerk shall make such changes to some or all of the ballots as he or she considers necessary or desirable to allow electors with visual impairments to vote without the assistance referred to in paragraph 4 of subsection 52 (1).
45 (2) In establishing the locations of voting places, the clerk shall ensure that each voting place is accessible to electors with disabilities.
 
2.2 Accessible Customer Service
The Office of the Municipal Clerk is committed to making our services accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Further, we shall comply with the Municipality’s Accessible Customer Service Policy, as required under O. Reg. 191/11, Integrated Accessibility Standards, made under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. The Municipality’s Accessible Customer Service Policy: Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities (OP01-Accessible Customer Service) is attached as Appendix 1.
In fulfilling this Plan, the Office of the Municipal Clerk will at all times provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
 
3 Voting Assistance
Persons with disabilities may attend any advance vote or voting day location will have access to assistive devices and may request the assistance of a certified election staff to mark their ballot anywhere in the area designated as the voting place in accordance with Section 45 (9) of the Municipal Elections Act (e.g. to allow for curbside assistance).
 
3.1 Assistive Devices
Election staff will make available assistive devices that will aid those with disabilities in marking their ballot. The following aids will be made available to electors:
• Magnifiers for people with low vision
• Pads of paper and pens for people with impaired hearing
• Easy grip pens
 
3.2 Support Persons and Service Animals
Persons with disabilities may be accompanied by a support person and/or service animal within a Voting Location. Support persons may mark the ballot for them or read the ballot aloud subject to taking the prescribed oath administered by an election official. Support persons must take the oath before marking the ballot. If necessary, the support person may also assist the elector in delivering the ballot, in the secrecy folder, to election staff.
 
3.3 Curbside Voting at the Voting Location
If an elector faces a mobility disability and attends a voting location but cannot easily enter the Voting Location from a vehicle without assistance, the Deputy Returning Officer shall be permitted to take the necessary steps to provide a ballot and receive the completed ballot by the curb or parking lot of the voting location.
 
4 Assistance to Candidates
All candidates will be provided with a copy of the Candidate’s Guide to Accessible Elections produced by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in partnership with the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasures of Ontario (AMCTO).
 
5 Voting Locations
The Office of the Municipal Clerk will undertake the following actions to ensure that Voting Locations are accessible and barrier free for all electors as required by the Municipal Elections Act:
• Conduct site visits to inspect each location ensuring that the facility has:
o barrier free path of travel from the parking lot/sidewalk into the main entrance of the voting location;
o barrier free access into the voting room from the voting location main entrance;
o barrier free parking with designated accessible parking spaces;
o accessible doors with buttons to automatically open doors; and,
o adequate lighting.
• Provisions of adequate and appropriate signage to direct voters;
• Ensure disruption of service or last-minute changes to Voting Locations are posted in real time on:
o The Municipality’s website and social media; and
o At the site of disruption, if applicable.
 
6 Retirement and Nursing Homes
Voting Locations shall be established at institutions and retirement homes in accordance with Section 45(7) of the Municipal Elections Act. Furthermore, the hours of voting at the above locations shall be held at the discretion of the Clerk in accordance with Section 46 (3) of the Municipal Elections Act.
 
In consultation with retirement and nursing home administrators, election staff will determine a day and time to attend the residence to provide voting assistance to residents. Notices of the date and time will be posted in the residence and will be provided with sufficient notice to be added to calendars that may be maintained by the home for residents. If deemed necessary, Deputy Returning Officers may provide voting assistance to residents in their specific living areas or at their bedside.
 
7 Information– Alternative Formats
Election information will be made available through a range of mediums and in diverse formats, including:
• Information available in HTML on the Municipality’s website;
• Large print documents (upon request);
• Material in plain/clear language for electors, service providers, candidates and others who may provide assistance to an elector.
• Notices posted on community bulletin boards in municipal and private facilities for public awareness.
Note: Election information does not include the composite ballot.
 
8 Accessibility Training for Election Staff
Accessibility training will be developed and provided to all election staff. All staff carrying out election duties will be trained to recognize and ensure that persons with disabilities are served in a way that accommodates their needs. Training shall include:
• How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
• How to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a service animal or support person;
• Steps to take if a person is having difficulty accessing election information or services.
 
9 Post-election Reporting
In accordance with section 12.1 (2) of the Municipal Elections Act, the clerk shall submit a report to council, within 90 days after voting day in a regular election, about the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities. The report will be posted on the Town’s website in a format accessible to persons with disabilities.
 
10 Feedback
Public feedback about the manner in which election services are provided to persons with disabilities may be submitted to the Office of the Municipal Clerk through a variety of methods:
• Telephone: 705- 273-2313 
• E-mail: treasurer@blackriver-matheson.com
• Mail or in person: 429 Park Lane, P.O. Box 60, Matheson, ON P0K 1N0
The feedback process provides election staff with an opportunity to take corrective measures to prevent similar recurrences, address training needs, enhance service delivery, and provide alternative methods of providing election services.
 
11 Additional Information
The Township of Black River-Matheson’s website is continuously updated to reflect the most recent election developments and information. Visit the site for an up-to-date list of candidates and other important messages or events throughout the election year at www.blackriver-matheson.com.
Please note that the Clerk, at any time, has the right to amend this Plan to facilitate the vote, count and tabulation of the votes, and security of the vote. The Clerk’s ruling on any interpretation of this document is final.
 
12 Attachments