Quebecers head to the polls to elect school boards

Quebec residents over the age of 18 have the opportunity to vote in local school board elections - which could be the last ever held, unless voters turn out in large numbers.

Low voter turnout could lead to abolition of province's school boards

Making sure you're on the right voters' list has proven quite difficult for some. (CBC)

Quebec residents over the age of 18 can vote in local school board elections today.

The elections are being held in Quebec’s 60 francophone school boards and its nine English school boards.

Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you don’t know your polling station, check the reminder card that you should have received in the mail.

For the first time, voters will be asked to select their preferred candidate for school board chair, as well as casting a ballot for their region's commissioner.

You can consult the website of Quebec’s elections commission, the DGE, for a list of your local candidates.

To vote, your name must appear on the voters' list for the French or English language school board in your area.

You will also need to show one of the following pieces of identification:

  • Health insurance card issued by the RAMQ
  • Driver’s licence issued by the SAAQ
  • Canadian passport
  • Certificate of Indian status
  • Canadian Forces Identification Card.

Education Minister Yves Bolduc has said the government would be looking very closely at how the elections — famous for low voter turnouts in previous years — pan out.

He said if not many people show up to vote, it could be the affirmation the government needs to get rid of school boards altogether.

Voter turnout in the 2007 school board elections was only 7.9 per cent. The participation rate at English boards was 16.7 per cent.

Mixed feelings greet vote

Quebec's Federation of Parents Committees issued an appeal Saturday for registered voters to show up at the polls. 

Corinne Payne, the federation's vice-president, said education is a 'public good' that needs maximum participation.

"The children who are students at our schools are the future of Quebec, so citizens have a duty to care about about the quality of services offered by our school boards," she said.

That opinion wasn't shared by some elected representatives of the Coalition Avenir Québec, led by François Legault. Legault promised to abolish the province's school boards in last April's provincial election. 

Last month, Jean-François Roberge, CAQ's education critic, said members of the party's caucus in the National Assembly would not vote in the school board elections.

However, at least three CAQ MNAs said they were planning to vote Sunday. 

Simon Jolin-Barrette, the MNA for Borduas, Sylvie D'Amours, MNA for Mirabel, and Lise Lavallée, the MNA for Repentigny, confirmed their intention to vote.