Media Bulletin - Important reminders for media on Election Day

TORONTO, March 2 /CNW/ - Important provisions and regulations are in place for the March 4 by-elections in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West - Nepean and Leeds - Grenville.

1. Advertising Blackout

Ontario law imposes blackout periods on political advertising at different times during a by-election period. For the March 4 by-election in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West - Nepean and Leeds - Grenville, there was a blackout on political advertising from February 3 to February 9. There will also be a blackout on political advertising on the day before Election Day, March 3 and on Election Day, March 4.

During this time, no party, constituency association or candidate, third party and no person, corporation or trade union, whether acting with or without the party's, association's or candidate's consent, shall arrange for or consent to political advertising that appears during the blackout period.

In addition, no broadcaster or publisher shall allow political advertising to appear during the blackout period. This ban applies to all media, including the Internet.

It should be noted that the blackout period does not apply to genuine news reporting.

2. Limits for still and video photography

Media are also reminded that filming is not permitted in a provincial polling place. Media must film from outside the voting location and not from the doorway of the polling place.

An exception has been allowed by the Chief Electoral Officer for media who wish to obtain still or video photography of a candidate casting his or her ballot. Candidates must make prior arrangements with the local returning officer for written consent to be provided for admission to a polling place. Still/video cameras are not permitted in the polling place without advance permission.

Any media admitted to the polling place for the above purpose must be aware that they are not to approach, film or photograph any other voters, even if the voters give their consent.

3. Close of polls and election night results

News media representatives may be in attendance at the local returning offices at the close of polls. Media are advised to make arrangements with the returning officer in advance.

Live election results will be available on the Elections Ontario website www.elections.on.ca. The website will detail the number of votes cast for each candidate and the number of polling places reporting. Live results on polling night are unofficial.

Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda.

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    Quick Reference Guide
    Political Advertising
    March 2010
    

Important information for all advertising departments

ADVERTISING RULES

Electors in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West - Nepean and Leeds - Grenville will be voting in a provincial by-election on March 4.

Advertising outlets in broadcast, publishing and other media must meet certain legal obligations when conducting business. The Election Finances Act also has rules governing advertising by or on behalf of candidates, constituency associations, political parties and third parties during elections.

More detail is provided in Guideline G23 (found in the media section on www.elections.on.ca).

Below is a summary of the most important points for political advertising.

BY-ELECTION BLACKOUT PERIODS

For the March 4 by-election in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West - Nepean and Leeds - Grenville, there was a blackout on political advertising from February 3 to February 9. There will also be a blackout on political advertising on the day before Election Day, March 3 and on Election Day, March 4.

    
    The prohibition against the publication of political advertisements does
not apply to:

    -   genuine news reporting
    -   the publication of advertising, on polling day or the day before
        polling day, in a newspaper that is published once a week or less
        often and whose regular day of publication falls on that day
    -   an advertisement on the Internet or in a similar electronic medium,
        if posted before and not altered during a blackout period
    -   an advertisement in the form of a poster or billboard, if posted
        before and not altered during a blackout period.

    A blackout period restriction does not apply to:

    -   advertising of public meetings in constituencies
    -   announcing the location of candidate or constituency offices
    -   advertising for volunteer campaign workers
    -   announcing services for electors by candidates or constituency
        associations respecting revision of lists of electors
    -   announcing services for electors on polling day
    -   any other matter respecting administrative functions of constituency
        associations.
    

The above is based on the provision that such advertisements, announcements and other matters are done in accordance with the guidelines of the Chief Electoral Officer found on www.elections.on.ca.

LIMITS ON RATES TO BE CHARGED

During a campaign, no person or corporation shall charge a registered party, constituency association, candidate or third party or any person, corporation or trade union acting with the party's, association's, candidate's, or third party's consent, a rate for making political advertising available in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that exceeds the lowest rate the person or corporation charges anyone else for the same amount of equivalent advertising space or time during that period.

AUTHORIZATION OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING

All political printed advertising, handbills, placards, posters and broadcast or telecast advertisements shall bear or make reference to the name of the registered party, constituency association, third party, or person, corporation or trade union authorizing the political advertising. This includes:

    
    1.  The name of the person, corporation, trade union, registered party,
        registered constituency association, or registered third party that
        is causing the political advertisement to appear.
    2.  The name, business address and telephone number of the individual who
        deals with the broadcaster or publisher on behalf of the person or
        entity mentioned in paragraph 1.
    3.  The name of any other person, corporation, trade union, registered
        party, constituency association or third party that is sponsoring or
        paying for the political advertisement.
    

The broadcaster or publisher of a political advertisement shall maintain records for a period of two years after the date the political advertisement appeared and shall permit the public to inspect the records during normal office hours. A record maintained shall contain the following:

    
    -   the information required in paragraphs 1, 2. and 3. (above)
    -   a copy of the political advertisement, or the means of reproducing it
        for inspection
    -   a statement of the charge made for its appearance.

    A political advertisement in any medium shall name:

    -   the person, corporation, trade union, registered party, constituency
        association or third party that is causing it to appear; and
    -   any other person, corporation, trade union, registered party,
        constituency association or third party that is sponsoring or paying
        for it.

    For further information contact:
    Election Finances Division
    Elections Ontario
    Telephone: 416.325.9401
    Toll Free: 1.866.566.9066
    www.elections.on.ca
    

SOURCE Elections Ontario

For further information: For further information: or to be added to Elections Ontario's election night results e-mail list contact: Elections Ontario Media Relations, (416) 212-6186, 1-866-252-2152, media@elections.on.ca


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