Recall is a process to remove a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from office between elections, by collecting signatures in the Member’s electoral division.
Who Can Apply for a Petition to Recall an MLA?
To make an application for a recall petition, an individual must be an elector who has lived in the electoral division for at least three months prior to the date of the application. An elector must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older and a resident of Alberta.
The following persons cannot apply:
- a sitting member of the same Legislature as the member named in the recall petition;
- the Chief Electoral Officer, Election Commissioner, an election officer or an individual who is otherwise a member of the Chief Electoral Officer’s office staff;
- an individual who is prohibited from being a chief financial officer under section 29(4) of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act;
- an individual who, at any time within the previous 8 years, has been convicted of an offence under the Recall Act, the Election Act or the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.
How do I Apply?
Applications for a recall petition are submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer. Applicants must provide:
- A completed Application for Recall Petition and Notice of Recall Petition,
- An Appointment of Chief Financial Officer ,
- Authorized ID demonstrating the elector’s identity and address within the electoral division, and
- The $500 application fee, paid by cash, a certified cheque and/or a bank or postal money order made payable to “Government of Alberta”.
The Notice of Recall Petition requires the applicant to provide a statement of 200 words or less stating the reason for the recall. In determining the number of words in the statement, Elections Alberta will use the electronic word count feature of a word processor. Submissions with more than 200 words will not be accepted.
The Notice of Recall Petition will be made public and must be reviewed by all electors signing the petition. Elections Alberta will not correct any errors or otherwise amend the submitted statement.
When Can an Application be Made?
An application may be made during the MLA’s term in office except:
- within the 18-month period immediately following the day on which the MLA was elected,
- within the 6-month period before the fixed election day, or
- if another application for recall for that electoral division has been issued or published by the Chief Electoral Officer.
As we are now in the 6-month period before the fixed election date applications for recall are not being accepted. The application period will open again 18-months after the Provincial General Election.
What is the Approval Process for a Recall Application?
Once the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that the applicant has met all the requirements above, within 7 days of the determination, the Chief Electoral Officer will provide written notice that the application has been approved to:
- the applicant,
- the MLA named in the application,
- if applicable, to the leader of the party the applicant in which the MLA is a member of, and
- the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
The applicant will also be provided with the petition signature sheets and witness affidavits in the format that must be used. Signatures collected on other forms will not be accepted. The applicant is responsible to make copies of the forms.
The recall petition will be published on this website and will include:
- The name and electoral division of the MLA subject to recall,
- The statement provided by the recall applicant with the reason for the recall,
- The start and end dates of the canvassing period, and
- The number of electors whose names appear on the post-election day list of electors.
How do I Register Canvassers?
The applicant must register every individual that they wish to canvass on their behalf. Canvassers must be electors that have lived in the electoral division in the previous 3-month period prior to canvassing.
The Application to Canvass for a Recall Petition must be submitted to Elections Alberta, along with a copy of Authorized Identification demonstrating the canvasser’s identity and address within the electoral division.
Elections Alberta will provide each registered canvasser with identification documents that must be produced on request while canvassing. The identification documents must be returned to the applicant on or before the last day of the canvassing period.
All canvassers must comply with the Canvasser Code of Conduct and any guidelines for canvassing issued by the Chief Electoral Officer.
What are the Requirements for Collecting Signatures?
To be eligible to sign a petition, an individual must be an elector whose has resided in the electoral division in the 3-month period leading up to the petition.
An elector signing the petition must:
- print legibly their surname and given names;
- supply the physical address where they ordinarily reside at the time of signing;
- provide their telephone number and/or email address;
- confirm that they are an elector, residing within the electoral division for the previous 3 month; and
- date it on the date which they signed the petition.
An individual may only sign the recall petition once and only during the canvassing period.
All signatures must be original signature, no digital or online signatures will be accepted.
Only registered canvassers can collect signatures on the petition and will also sign each petition sheet as a witness to the signatures collected. The witness will also be required to swear an affidavit to the best of their knowledge the individuals who signed were eligible to do so.
For the petition to be successful, the applicant must collect signatures from more than 40% of voters eligible to sign the petition. It is recommended that additional signatures be collected in case any signatures are invalidated during the verification process.
All signatures must be collected within the 60-day canvassing period.
When Do I Submit the Petition?
The applicant must submit all petition signature sheets and the accompanying witness affidavits to Elections Alberta on or before the 60th day of canvassing. Any petition received after the canvassing period will not be accepted.
Once the petition is submitted, no further signatures may be added to the petition, nor any additional signature sheets submitted.
What is the Petition Verification Process?
Elections Alberta will verify the petition within 30 days of the date the petition was submitted.
The verification process includes:
- Confirmation that only the petition signature sheets, as provided to the applicant, were used in the collection of signatures;
- Confirmation that only original signatures have been collected;
- A review of each signature to ensure that the required information was provided (name, physical address, contact information, date, signature);
- Confirmation that each page of the petition was witnessed by a registered canvasser, and that the witness signed the required affidavit;
- A random sampling to confirm that the addresses are within the electoral division; and
- Contacting a random sampling of electors to confirm that they signed the petition.
A successful petition will contain valid signatures from 40% of the total number of electors on the post-election day list of electors for the electoral division named in the recall petition.
As soon as practical after completing the verification of the petition, Elections Alberta will report the results by providing written notice to:
- the applicant;
- the member who is named in the Notice of Recall Petition;
- the leader of the party, if applicable, whose member is named in the notice; and
- the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
The results will be published on the Elections Alberta website.
What are the Requirements after the Results of the Petition are Published?
Within two days of the publication of the results of the recall petition, the applicant must:
- Return the recall petition and all canvasser identification documents to Elections Alberta;
- Destroy all additional copies made of signatures sheets by the applicant or canvassers, and
- Submit to Elections Alberta a signed affidavit confirming that all signature sheets have been returned and all copies destroyed.
Financial disclosure for recall petition
Each authorized participant’s chief financial officer must submit a recall petition expense limit report consisting of a financial statement, a contribution report, an expense report, and supporting information and documents. The report is due within 30 days after the petition submission date or within 30 days after the petition canvassing period expires, whichever is earlier. The report is required even if the petition has been withdrawn or terminated. Failure to meet a filing deadline will result in an automatic late filing fee of $500.
What happens following a Successful Petition?
The Lieutenant Governor in Council will order a recall vote to be conducted within 6 months of the date on which the successful results were published. The question to be submitted to the electorate is whether the named member should be recalled.
A recall vote is successful if more then 50% of the electors who voted are in favor of the recall. If successful the MLA is removed and a by-election is held in the electoral division.