Meeting Summary – Post 42nd General Election Special Meeting – November 19, 2015
Service to Parties
1. Services from election officers
Some elections officers seemed unaware of changes to the CEA, e.g. DROs not knowing what voter ID was acceptable; poll clerks not appreciating requirement to provide bingo sheets every hour on ordinary polling day; ROs not being aware of the requirement to provide bingo sheets on request in the days after the election; some poll clerks not understanding their duties, slowing down the voting process.
Generally, the service was good, though it is still sometimes hard to get good answers to tough technical questions.
The online training materials for election officers could be improved to help address this situation.
Sections 325 and 495 were not enforced in Alberta ridings in regard to vandalism and theft of candidates' signs, and to illegal signage via municipal local bylaws. This lack of enforcement impacted parties' ability to inform the electorate.
2. SITES data to candidates and parties
SITES data frequently changed, creating additional workload for those inputting the data. EC's site has all the info but it is sometimes cumbersome and difficult to find what one is looking for.
3. List of electors data
This was useful and available in convenient formats, though it probably would have been better to have produced one fewer preliminary list before the final one for the sake of clarity.
There were issues with the way in which the EC system was applying the electoral status and sequence ID. Passwords for the electors' lists were often too complicated with various symbols, characters and spaces. The correct file was not always delivered and some ROs stated that they had no obligation to provide a text file but only one in PDF. The user guide provided with the file gave incorrect information in regard to the legend for electoral status and invalid field length. The old instructions were not updated to reflect the changes to the file. Some lists were not ready as required under the CEA.
Sections 326 and 327 do not require all registered candidates to be included in local public opinion polls and surveys. This exclusion is undemocratic, and it was used to influence the local vote in this general election, especially those voters who voted strategically.
4. Nomination process for candidates
EDAs should be reminded ahead of time of their responsibilities to report the nomination process, as it is easily forgotten.
5. Other comments and observations
The BA should be allowed to require the stations that carry the free time ads for parties to carry them in greater frequency and shorter length. Having to produce several different lengths of ads was quite inconvenient. 30-second ads would be preferred.
Some parties are finding it increasingly difficult to find people willing to take on the work and responsibility of official agent. Official agents should be given some financial compensation for completing their work in a timely manner just as auditors are.