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A presentation for Returning Officers October 2008 CONDUCTING A SUCCESSFUL ELECTION.

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Presentation on theme: "A presentation for Returning Officers October 2008 CONDUCTING A SUCCESSFUL ELECTION."— Presentation transcript:

1 A presentation for Returning Officers October 2008 CONDUCTING A SUCCESSFUL ELECTION

2 2 Congratulations You have been asked to be the Returning Officer for the local community government and/or education authority election. Your competence and integrity for this important post is trusted. Elections are the people’s means to freely choose who represents them. The election which is conducted efficiently, fairly and independent of influence or interference enhances our independence of choice.

3 3 Contractual Arrangement Council appoints a Returning Officer and Registrar. One person may be appointed to both offices. The SAO/Principal contracts with the Returning Officer to conduct the election and hire staff. All election officers will be asked to declare or affirm to carry out their duties faithfully and in accordance with the Local Authorities Elections Act. You become a Commissioner of Oaths to complete affirmations of election staff, electors and candidates during the election period.

4 Organization Is The Key To Success What do you need? A working area to conduct business Copy of the Local Authorities Elections Act and Returning Officer’s Manual Ballots, ballot boxes and seals Election Forms Election staff and interpreters appointed and trained. Office supplies and Bibles Food and drinks for election staff 4

5 Before Nominations Open Prepare your office Have ready, Nomination forms, Statutory Declarations, Ballot boxes with locks Familiarize yourself with the Local Authorities Elections Act and the Returning Officers Manual Familiarize yourself with all Election Forms Introduce yourself to the Chief Municipal Electoral Officer who is available to assist you with any questions and problems Appoint elections staff 5

6 Election Legislation And Forms The community government/education authority should have these documents available prior to your appointment. You can obtain the Local Authorities Election Act and Regulations from the CanLII website at OR MACA’s website at The Returning Officer’s Manual is available on MACA’s website. 6

7 Returning Registrar Officer Appointed by authority not later (closer) than 8 weeks to election day May be Registrar Recruits, swears in, trains and supervises Deputy Returning Officers, and other election staff Appointed by authority not later(closer) than 8 weeks to election day May be Returning Officer Responsible to ensure all eligible voters are placed on the voter’s list Recruits enumerators if required 7

8 If The Mayor’s Position Is Open In A Hamlet…..... Remind, in writing, all councillors whose terms are not complete, if they wish to run for Mayor, they MUST resign from council the Friday before nominations open. 8

9 Eligible Candidates Canadian citizens 18 years of age and older A resident of the community 12 months prior to the close of nominations or the residency period set by community charter 9

10 Persons Not Eligible To Be Candidates Judges, including JPs MLA’s Local government or education employees Election officers Sheriffs, municipal auditor & assessors Sureties - persons who take on debt or legal responsibilities of an employee or officer of the local government Convictions for criminal offences punishable for five or more years within three years of election Persons convicted of corrupt election practices within three years of election Persons in debt to the municipal or settlement corporation - See next page. 10

11 Persons In Debt To The Municipality Are Not Allowed To Run For Municipal Office How much debt? A person who owes the municipal or settlement corporation $500 or more over 90 days A person who owns 10% or more voting shares in a corporation which owes $500 or more over 90 days In tax-based communities, a person who has not paid taxes ending December 31st of any year 11

12 Call For Nominations 7th and 6th week prior to Election Day The SAO informs the Returning Officer in writing; 1) Whether the Mayor’s seat is open 2) The number of councillors required 3) Local Education Authority seats open (if jointly done) 4) Charter Community - number of public seats to be elected 12

13 Nomination Papers The Local Authorities Elections Act requires a candidate to have two eligible voters nominate him or her and all must make a declaration before a Returning Officer who becomes a Commissioner of Oaths during the period of the election. It is important candidates and nominators are aware of this requirement. 13

14 Notice Of Candidates Nominated Returning Officer may delay posting of candidates for 48 hours while certain candidates reconfirm their eligibility to run for office. Returning Officer may have to extend nominations one week if not enough nominations are received to fill vacant positions. 14 *No one, including the media, is to receive information on nominations prior to the close of the Nomination Period* POST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER NOMINATIONS CLOSE

15 Challenges to Candidates Eligibility Notify the candidate immediately in writing of the reason and request a second declaration of eligibility be sworn before you (in some special circumstances you may allow up to 48 hours). If the candidate complies, your role is finished and the person’s name appears on the ballot. If the candidate refuses, you do NOT list the person as a candidate. 15

16 The Nomination Period Can Be... …hectic. You may have had to respond to many questions. This is good. People are interested in their community government or education authority and who represents them. Now that it is over, you now have to get ready for election day. 16

17 This Is The Time To Train Election Officers To Assist You… To compile the Voter’s List For advance, mobile, and Election Day Voting stations To post important election notices if necessary To undertake the duties of the Deputy Returning Officer and Registrar if necessary 17

18 30 Days Prior To Election Notice of Election: details the positions, number of persons required for each position in the community, and the date, hours and location(s) of the vote. Voter questions and requests to borrow money may require voter approval. Voter’s List: lists the voters who are eligible to vote, includes eligibility requirements and how to get on the Voter’s List if names were missed. 18

19 Ballots Separate ballots for mayor, councillor, local education official, each borrowing bylaw and voter question Clearly differentiate candidate’s first and last names (and initials) Alphabetical order is recommended Must use English and may use Aboriginal language and/or French Pictures of the candidates may be used 19

20 Voting Days These can be hectic days. The more organized and knowledgeable you and your staff are of election responsibilities, the smoother your days will be. Be confident. Don’t be rushed. If you are uncertain of anything, call for assistance. Take notes of each election for future reference and/or training. 20

21 Advance Voting No more than 14 days prior to an election and not less 7 days prior to an election. Advance Voting date set by council and included in the Notice of Election. 21

22 Mobile Voting Stations (Discretionary) To assist the disabled and elderly by taking the voting station to their residence Done by appointment with the Returning Officer on a day other than election day 22

23 Public Election Information Directions for voting Directions for Proxy Voters Directions for Advance Vote Eligibility Criteria for Voters 23

24 Election Day Requirements Voter’s Registrar-voters to be checked off as they vote Numbered and initialed ballots for each position, or colored ballots for each position Sufficient ballot boxes Voting booths or shields Pencils Proxy Certificates and Declaration of Proxy Voter to be passed in to electoral officers Declaration of eligibility forms Certificate of Election Voting summary sheets 24

25 Election Day Voting station opened, empty ballot boxes sealed Election officials attend each voter by checking name from Voter’s list, providing an initialed ballots and providing instructions. Electors sworn in when not on Voter’s List “challenged” is written by voter’s name where elector challenged Proxy voters assisted with paperwork Voting Station closes and voters still inside allowed to vote The counting begins The persons elected declared The paperwork completed 25

26 Maintaining Order On Election Day Ensure no one causes any disturbances at the voting stations. Be polite but FIRM. No campaigning/or materials are permitted in any voting station or within Immediate Vicinity of one. Only election staff or a person authorized by you may attend a voting booth with an elector. Call bylaw officer or the RCMP if required. 26

27 Dealing With Candidates And Their Agents Only the candidate or one agent is permitted to attend the voting station(s) at any time to observe the election process. You may request appointment forms be signed by a candidate and presented at the station(s). (See Manual) Agents may examine the voter’s registrar on election day providing no elector is delayed or inconvenienced in voting. At the count, agents may examine and challenge ballots and have those challenges recorded by the Returning Officer. Agents may sign the envelopes containing final results and are entitled to a statement of the election results. 27

28 When A Person Is A Candidate For Both Mayor And Hamlet Councillor…. Count the votes for Mayor first Declare who has the most votes for Mayor If the duo-candidate has won the Mayor’s election, count the votes for councillor excluding those cast for the person who won as Mayor. 28

29 Valid Ballots Initialed by the Returning Officer or DRO Have no more votes than entitled - One for the Mayor and up to the maximum votes for available positions for councillors Have no marks to identify the voter Have clear voting instructions. These marks ( ,, , ,, , , ,  ) are all acceptable. Marks outside the circle or square are acceptable provided they are clearly opposite a name, and no confusion exists as to whom the elector was voting for. 29

30 Counting Ballots Separate ballots if only one ballot box is used. Count votes in the following order. Advance and Mobile (if required) Voting stations – Mayor Election Day Ballots for Mayor DECLARE winning Mayor 30

31 Counting Ballots Advance and Mobile (if required) – Councillors DECLARE winning councillors Any other local authority i.e.. Education Any question put to a vote Announce that administrative recounts may be requested in writing within 72 hours 31

32 What Happens In A Tie Vote? Where a tie between two or more persons occurs, the Returning Officer places one ballot for each tying name in the ballot box. One Ballot is drawn. The name of the person drawn is declared as having “one more vote than any other candidate” and elected. If a tie occurs where a one or two year term is decided, the candidates may decide who serves which term. Failing that, use the above tie-breaking method. Tlicho Community Governments must have a run-off election. 32

33 Records Announce winners publicly. Package the records of each vote into three envelopes: 1) statement of votes and ballots used in the count, 2) rejected, cancelled and declined ballots and 3) voter’s register, list of voters and unused ballots. Seal and identify. Replace in ballot box and seal Turn over to Senior Administrative Officer/Principal Provide Certificates of Election Fax results to MACA at (867)

34 Recounts Written requests for administrative recounts must be received within 72 hours of election day. Either the candidate or his representative is permitted to attend the recount. Confirm count of appropriate vote, confirm reasons to accept/reject challenged ballots and confirm statement of vote. Judicial recount may be requested by a voter within 14 days of election day by written notice to the Supreme Court of the NWT. 34

35 Chief Municipal Electoral Officer Appointed by the Commissioner to assist Returning Officers to conduct fair, open and independent elections. The CMEO provides interpretive assistance, training materials and trouble-shooting to Returning Officers consistent with the Act and regulations. Obtains Orders to Vary the Time of an Action set by legislation. Applies to Supreme Court of the NWT to stop an election on the basis of inadvertence or error in process. 35

36 Public Research On Elections In addition to the voting results, please provide: Total eligible electors Total number of voters All candidates gender 36 Please assist the Elections Office to meet the demand for election information.

37 Chief Municipal Electoral Officer Do not hesitate to contact the Chief Municipal Electoral Officer at any time. Phone: 1-(867) Fax 1-(867) Fax results and other information on election night 37

38 Election Calendar - For Hamlets 38

39 Election Calendar Cities, Towns and Villages. 39

40 Congratulations Your role is now complete. You have run a successful election by being organized and training others to work one of the most important democratic processes we have. 40


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