Meeting Summary – General Meeting – December 4–5, 2014
General Election Evaluation and Audit
This session was led by Belaineh Deguefé, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Integrated Services, Policy and Public Affairs. Mr. Deguefé mentioned that the CEO is required to present three reports: results, CEO report 90 days following the election, and the Final Report and Recommendations. Following the last two general elections, the CEO has submitted an evaluation report as well.
Amendments to the Canada Elections Act state that the conclusion of the audit of poll workers performance should be published at the same time as the official results. Mr. Deguefé clarified that the timing of the audit will not likely be within the 90-day time frame. This means that there will likely be a delay for the publication of official results.
The second part of this session was led by Stéphane Perrault, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Legal and Regulatory Affairs. It focused on the audit process.
Several questions were asked about the audit process. Mr. Perrault clarified that the purpose of the audit is not to validate the results, but to report on whether election officers have carried out their functions properly, particularly with registration and ID. The methodology will be set out by the audit firm, not by EC. The important thing is that the result of the audit should be generalized for all elections, so EC will need a methodology that will give that result. An arm's-length panel of experts will also be set up to identify categories of errors. The scope of powers of the auditors will be broad. The audit is specific to certain functions; it does not cover general relations between deputy returning officers and scrutineers. It does not include, for example, management of the flow of electors.
Several follow-up questions were asked regarding the cost of the audit, the selection of the panel, and the mandate. Mr. Perrault clarified that EC is working on a request for proposals (RFP), but that it will not have a contract issued if there is a spring election. The overall cost cannot yet be confirmed, but the RFP will be public and fully transparent. The panel will be chosen by the Departmental Audit Committee, three external members, one international expert and one provincial expert to review the procedures.
Mr. Perrault clarified that voter turnout will not be part of the audit process, nor will information from the public; the audit is specific to polling official behaviour. There will be items that EC will review as part of the evaluations. EC has not yet decided which evaluations it will do in its evaluation framework: for example, looking internally at how online registration service will work, did it meet objectives, etc.