Quebec Parliament Building.

Quebec Parliament Building.

Premier François Legault took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to announce the official start of the Quebec election campaign period on Sunday, August 28.

For political parties, the campaign period launch marks the beginning of a 36-day race to election day on October 3.

Behind the scenes, officials are taking steps that will trigger a formal process of preparation for the election, as well as advertising rules for candidates and parties.

Here's what you need to know.

The countdown begins

For Élections Québec, the body responsible for running elections, the election period officially gets going once the government issues what's called a "writ of election."

Online, Élections Québec outlines the deadlines that measure prompts.

First, the agency will ask voters to verify their information on the "list of electors," or the list of registered voters. They can make changes to their entry on the list between the 21st and fourth day before election day.

It will also provide voters with information on advance polling, which this year will take place at polling stations on the Sunday and Monday in the week before election day.

Other advance polling options, "depending on [voters] situation," are available between the 10th and fourth day before election day. There's more information about those situations online.

Next comes the card in the mail with the location of voters' election day polling stations and the list of candidates in their riding.

Candidates for National Assembly seats have between the second day after the election period begins and the 16th day before the election to file nomination papers, Élections Québec says.

Posters everywhere

Though Élections Québec says campaign posters are allowed before the launch of the election period, they really start popping up once the formal countdown to the election begins.

Only posters put up during the election period are considered campaign expenses eligible for reimbursement, the agency explains.

Election Act rules for campaign posters also kick in. Signs can't go on trees, bridges, bus shelters or heritage sites, nor can they obstruct views of crosswalks, roads or traffic signs or otherwise compromise driver or pedestrian safety.

Parties have 15 days after election day to take down their posters or face fines from municipalities and property owners for the cost of removing them.

An enormous undertaking

During the election period, Élections Québec says it becomes the single biggest employer in the province.

When the government issues the writ of election, so-called Returning Officers, the people whose job it is to manage elections in reach riding, officially start their work.

Élections Québec Revising Agents, Voter Identification Panel Members, Information Officers and Poll Clerks work together to verify voter documents and identities, make changes to the list of electors, run polling stations and confirm when each voter casts a ballot.

More information about the voting process and how to register is available online.

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