Islanders will soon be able to cast their votes in school board elections — the first time for both French and English school boards in over a decade.
Elections P.E.I. will be running both elections, with votes cast by mail-in ballot only.
In an interview Thursday with CBC News: Compass, the chief electoral officer for Elections P.E.I. said this method of voting was picked in consultation with the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning.
"This is what we determined would be… the best possible solution," said Tim Garrity. "And so this is a little bit different in the way that you have to pre-register."
Pre-registration opened Thursday morning, and ballots have to be back at Elections P.E.I. office by noon on election day, which is Oct. 21.
How do I get a ballot?
To pre-register to vote for school trustees, people need to go to the Elections P.E.I. website and register for the English or French school board election — or both, if they are eligible.
Elections P.E.I. will then send ballots to voters in zones that will be holding elections.
"You apply for the mail-in ballot and we will send it to you. We will send you the whole kit," said Garrity.
"It's very easy to do, to vote, and then you're just able to pop it right back in the mail. There'll be a stamp already on it, so you don't have to worry about anything. Throw it back in the mailbox and get it back to our office."
Who can vote?
"The eligibility to vote in school board election… there is a little bit of a nuanced difference between the Public Schools Branch and the C.S.L.F., the French school board," said Garrity.
For both elections you need to be a Canadian citizen over the age of 18 and you have to have lived in P.E.I. for at least six months before election day — so at least since April 21.
In addition, for the French school board, voters must have a child who is eligible under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to go to a French-language school.
Candidate nomination forms are also available on the Elections P.E.I. website, along with eligibility criteria, important dates and information about the role of a school trustee.
Candidates have from Sept. 12 to Sept. 23 to submit their nomination forms.
Elections P.E.I. will start sending out the ballots to pre-registered voters on Sept. 26.