Our legislation requires that we provide all eligible electors, including all those eligible electors living in “treatment centers”, the opportunity to vote in all municipal, district education council, regional health authority, or provincial elections for which they are qualified.
Under the Elections Act and Municipal Elections Act, a treatment centre is defined as “a nursing home, special care home, assisted living facility, psychiatric facility, extended care unit in a public hospital or any other residential facility operated for the purpose of the care and treatment of ten or more senior citizens or ten or more persons having a physical or mental disability.
A physical disability never affects a person's qualification to vote, and an elector who is unable to mark their ballot without assistance may be assisted by the election officer, or a friend of the elector.
A mental disability does not affect a person’s qualification to vote, and no administrator or other person has the right to deny a person with a mental disability the opportunity to vote. An elector who is unable to mark their ballot without assistance may be assisted by the election officer, or a friend of the elector.
Elections New Brunswick has developed procedures which we believe offer the greatest flexibility in voting opportunities to residents of treatment centres, while at the same time respecting the concerns of administrators and relatives of the residents to limiting disruptions to the important daily routines of the individuals living in the facilities.
Under our present system, qualified electors who reside in a treatment centre are placed on the voters list for the same polling division as the electors in the surrounding neighbourhood. This allows electors in treatment centres to be able to vote like all other voters, outside of the treatment centre, at the advance or ordinary polling station or at the returning office.
Alternatively, electors who reside in a treatment centre may vote within the treatment centre, either at an “additional poll” if one is set up in the common area, or they may request a personal bedside ballot box visit from a special ballot team at a pre-arranged time. This system provides that unless a resident expresses a wish to vote within the treatment centre, either by requesting a special ballot visit to their room, or by visiting the additional poll in the common area (if there is a sufficient demand for an additional poll), polling officials will not seek them out by going from room to room.