Qualifications to Vote

Persons Qualified for Registration and Voting for Council Elections

Under the Municipal Elections Act [s. 14], a person entitled to be registered on the list of electors and to vote in a municipal election must:

(a) be 18 years of age or older and a Canadian citizen on the first advance polling day in an election;

(b) be ordinarily resident in Nova Scotia for 6 months before the first advance polling day; and

(c) be ordinarily resident in the municipality, or in an area annexed thereto, and to have been so since immediately before the first advance polling day.

Persons Not Qualified to Vote

The Act [s. 15] disqualifies the following persons from registration or voting:

*  The Returning Officer;
*  An inmate in a correctional or reform centre;
*  A person convicted of bribery under the Municipal Elections Act in the 6 years preceding election day

Nova Scotia does not have non-resident voting. This means that municipal taxpayers who are not ordinarily resident in the municipality are not entitled to vote in that municipality, despite the fact that they own property there, or their children attend school there.

Persons who may be regarded as having a mental illness or mental disability are entitled to vote, as long as they are able to identify themselves to election officers, and to indicate that they wish to vote.

Meaning of “Ordinarily Resident”

The Act [s. 16] provides that a place where a person is “ordinarily resident” is:

*  For a married person, where the person’s family lives and sleeps, and to which the person intends to return when away,
*  For a married person separated from his or her family or an unmarried person, where the person usually lives and sleeps, and to which, when away the person intends to return, regardless of where he or she takes meals or is employed,
*  For an unmarried student with a family home in the province, where that home is located, and
*  Not in a seasonal dwelling generally only occupied between May and October, unless the person has no other dwelling place.

Hints on Qualifications to Vote

- Unmarried students who do not have a family home in the Province must meet the requirements to vote that apply to all other voters in the Province.
- A “landed immigrant” is not eligible to vote.
- “British subjects” used to be qualified, but only Canadian citizens can now vote in a municipal election.

Qualifications to Vote in School Board Elections

All electors who are qualified to vote in a municipal election are also qualified to vote in the election for the member of their district of the regional school board. There are additional qualifications that electors who are voting for either the
African Nova Scotian member of the regional school board or the member of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) must meet, discussed in sections 1.2.3.1 and 1.2.3.2, respectively.

1.2.3.1 Qualifications to Vote for the African Nova Scotian Member of the Regional School Board

Qualified electors who are African Nova Scotians or the parents or guardians of an African Nova Scotian child are entitled to vote for the African Nova Scotian member of the school board [Education Act, s. 42A].

1.2.3.2 Qualifications to Vote for the Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial (CSAP)

Qualified electors who are “entitled persons” within the meaning of s.3 (h),(i) of the Education Act are entitled to vote for the member of CSAP in their polling district. An “entitled person” is a person:

*  Who is a Canadian citizen, and
*  Whose first language learned and still understood is French, or
*  Who received his/her primary school instruction in Canada in a French-first-language program, or
*  Of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in Canada in a French-first-language program.