Information for Prospective Candidates

New for 2021, the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) prescribes nomination period begins January 1 (Monday, January 4, 2021) until 12:00 noon on Monday, September 20, 2021.

Clearwater County candidates filed their nomination papers for the 2021 Municipal Election, papers were posted on the County's website as received.

You are eligible to run as a candidate if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • At least 18 years of age on Nomination Day
  • Canadian citizen
  • Resident of the local jurisdiction for the six consecutive months immediately preceding Nomination Day
  • In a municipality with a ward system, you must be a resident of the ward or the electoral division in which you intend to run for the six consecutive months immediately preceding Nomination Day.

The use of election signs during a campaign are permitted. Here are the rules and guidelines that need to be followed:

What is the Candidate Portal?

The Candidate Portal is an online tool where official Candidates can:

  • search the list of electors for the electoral district in which they are running
  • download copies of the list of electors
  • view recent changes to the list of electors
  • view, print, and download forms and other information

Candidate Portal Access

The Returning Officer will provide access to the portal when a Nomination Paper is accepted and is an official candidate after closing of Nomination day and the withdrawal period.

Once access is granted, Candidates will receive an email at the address provided in their Nomination Paper containing a username, a temporary password, and instructions for how to access the portal.

Resetting your Password

If a Candidate forgets their password, they must contact their Returning Officer to have it reset.

The Returning Officer will not provide a new password over the phone.

All password resets will be sent to the email address provided in the Nomination Paper.

Changing your Email Address

If a Candidate wishes to change the email address they provided in their Candidate Information Disclosure Form, they must do so in person at the Office of the Returning Officer.

Don't know what ward/division you live in? New this year, you can find your division on your 2021 Assessment & Tax notice. You may vote at either polling station within your Division, but it is ideal that you do vote at the recommended polling station. Please note that upcoming tax notices (delivered via mail) will include information indicating your Division.

In the meantime, here are Clearwater County Division Maps:

If you would like a large scale Division Map of the County or have any questions as to what Division you live in please email  or call 403-845-4444.

The following are a list of commonly asked questions about Municipal Elections and the references made to the Local Authorities Election Act.

Do I have to wait to start campaigning until I file my nomination papers?

No, prospective candidates can begin campaigning as soon as they’d like. 

However, s 147.2 of Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) outlines that a candidate may not accept campaign contributions, including the funds of the candidate, until the candidate is registered under the Act with the municipality that the candidate intends to run. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact the Returning Officer and obtain the a “Candidate Package” should they wish to raise funds to campaign.

Can a candidate put up campaign signage prior to Nomination Day?

The LAEA does not specify when a candidate can begin to put up campaign signage. However, some municipalities may have bylaws restricting when and where campaign signage may be placed.  In Clearwater County, signage restrictions for County road allowances are noted in the Land Use Bylaw, as indicated in the “Candidate Package” and for provincial highways, visit Alberta Transportation’s website here

Is a volunteer paid-on-call firefighter eligible to run for municipal office in Clearwater County?  

Yes, as long as they meet the provisions of the LAEA for eligibility, under “Qualification of Candidates” s. 21. 

What if nominations are not received for a particular position?

If the required number of nominations are not received for the number of positions available on Nomination Day, the Returning Officer will continue to receive nominations the following day, at the local jurisdiction, between 10 a.m. and 12noon. Nominations will continue to be received at the same place between the same times until the required number of nominations has been received or a period of six working days, including Nomination Day (s. 31 LAEA).

Can I use a County logo on my campaign materials?

No, the use of Clearwater County’s official logo or phone number on any campaign materials, including signs or brochures, is prohibited.

Are you allowed to campaign inside, outside or near a voting station on Election Day?

No, as per s. 150 LAEA, interfering with an elector, displaying materials or distributing information, communicating who a voter is or has voted for or directly or indirectly inducing an elector is an offence subject to fines or imprisonment per s. 150(9).    

Can I put up campaign signs near a voting station?

No, as per s. 152 LAEA, and is an offence subject to fines.    

Do I have to submit my Nomination Papers in person, or can I have my official agent submit on behalf of me? 

You may want to file the form in person; however, anyone can file it on your behalf as long as it is fully completed (signed by a Commissioner of Oath). It is your responsibility to ensure that the nomination form filed meets the requirements under s. 27 of the LAEA.

How many signatures are required on my nomination papers?

The required signatures cannot be less than five (5) and cannot exceed 100, per s. 27 LAEA

Do I have to report on contributions and expenses?

Yes, candidates are required to submit a campaign contribution and disclosure statement by March 1, following the election, to the Returning Officer or municipality. This disclosure statement must include name and address of those contributors whose donation exceeded $100 in the aggregate, and the total amount of contributions received that did not exceed $100 in the aggregate. 

A candidate whose campaign is entirely self-funded is not required to file a campaign contribution and disclosure statement s. 147.4 LAEA

What is the minimum time to request a leave of absence (from employer, Clearwater County)?

September 17, 2021 is the deadline to submit a leave of absence.

If I’m a contract worker for Clearwater County, am I still required to resign or step down?

No, if the signed working contract states that “the Contractor will be responsible for the payment of all Income tax, Canada Pension, Employment Insurance, and all other required payments, contributions and deductions. Clearwater County will provide coverage under the Workers Compensation Act that arise or may hereafter arise with regard to the services performed by the Contractor under this agreement”.

As a Councillor, when do my Canada Life benefits coverage end (if I am not re-elected)? Also, if I am a new Councillor when does my coverage begin?

If you are not re-elected, your benefits coverage ends on Election Day (October 18, 2021). If you are a new Councillor, your benefits coverage begins on the day you are sworn into office during the Organizational Meeting (October 26, 2021).

What if I do not collect campaign contributions?

A candidate may spend up to $10,000 of their own funds during any campaign period, per s.147.2 LAEA. If a candidate has entirely self-funded, they are not required to open a bank account or file a campaign contribution and disclosure statement.

Do I have to pay a deposit when I file my nomination papers?

No, Clearwater County does not have a bylaw requiring a nomination deposit. Municipalities may pass a bylaw, at least 30 days prior to nomination day, requiring a deposit, per s. 29 LAEA

Are current Councillors allowed to use County issued equipment (i.e. cell phones, computers) for the purpose of campaigning during the municipal election?

Yes, nothing in the LAEA prohibits a Councillor from using their municipal equipment for their duration as Councillor. 

Can incumbent Councillors participate in community events/functions prior to Election Day?

Yes. A Councillor’s term and official role ceases following the municipal election, once new Councillors are sworn at the Organizational Meeting. Elected officials are authorized by Council and generally receive remuneration for the time and energy they devote to their community. As private citizens, Councillors may attend any community event on their personal time.

What do I do if someone votes, who isn’t eligible to vote, or is not eligible to vote in that division?

An official agent, scrutineer, returning officer or candidate can indicate their objection to the presiding returning officer (polling attendant), and a note can be made on the voting register, at the time a voter is making the prescribed statement. Please note that as per s. 150, no person shall interfere with an elector.

Every elector is required to sign a Voting Register (Form 13).  Election staff record the objection to the voter on the statement and file it appropriately. The voter is still permitted to cast a ballot once the objection has been recorded. Upon successful application to the courts, a person who votes knowing that they have no right to do so may be fined up to $10,000 or may be imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both, per s. 54 LAEA

I’m going to be out of town on Election Day. Can I vote in advance?

Local authorities may choose to pass a resolution allowing for advance vote or special ballot opportunities, as per s. 73 & 77.2 LAEA. Clearwater County Council authorized an Advanced Vote on October 4, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., as well that an incapacitated voter may register with the Returning Officer to have special ballot or mail in ballot requested.

Who is eligible to observe the election process?

Only one of the following can be present in the voting station:

  • Candidate; or
  • Official Agent; or
  • Scrutineer. 

A candidate, their official agent, or one of their scrutineers may not be present at the same voting station during voting hours.

Who has the ability to ask for a recount?

The Returning Officer may undertake a recount if a candidate, official agent, or scrutineer show grounds that the count of votes is inaccurate. The Returning Officer may also consider the number of rejected ballots, valid ballots objected to, or any administrative or technical errors. If a recount is requested, a recount application must be made by 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday following Election Day, per s. 98 LAEA

Who can challenge the validity of an election?

If the validity of an election, of a member of an elected authority, or the member’s right to hold the seat, is contested, or the validity of a vote on a bylaw or question is contested, the issue may be raised before the Court of Queen’s Bench, per s. 126 LAEA. The issue may be raised by:

  • A candidate;
  • The elected authority;
  • Any elector, if the right to sit is by acclamation or contested on the ground that a member of the elected authority is ineligible, disqualified, or has forfeited the member’s seat since the election; or
  • An elector who gave or tendered their vote at the election.