Ontario voters will head to the polls four months earlier than expected under Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new electoral reforms for the next provincial campaign. Wynne will announce sweeping legislation Thursday moving the 2018 fixed election date from October to the spring in order to avoid conflicting with municipal votes and to take advantage of better weather and longer days. At the same time, spending limits on controversial third-party advertising will also finally be imposed after years of unchecked millions of dollars being spent by unions and other groups to sway voters.
Government officials said the premier and Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur will also propose lowering the age of registering to vote to 16 — though casting ballots will still be limited to those 18 and older. That measure is designed to engage younger voters by encouraging them to register.
But the Liberals will not be moving forward with online voting even though some have urged that to boost turnout among young people.
Following the long-standing recommendation of Greg Essensa, Ontario’s chief elections officer, Wynne is also expected to finally close some loopholes to curb campaign spending by third-party interest groups.