Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting – October 11–12, 2012
4) Compliance with Procedural Requirements on Voting Day
Rennie Molnar (Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Events) gave a presentation on Elections Canada's plans to address compliance with voting day procedures. A copy of the presentation was provided to participants.
Elections Canada has engaged Harry Neufeld, independent consultant and former Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia, to investigate causes and possible solutions to the issue of non-compliance with voting day procedures. As part of this process, Mr. Neufeld is seeking representatives from political parties to participate in a one-day workshop on November 15 in Ottawa and to comment on research findings and an interim report during the period following the activity. Political parties were asked to nominate one technical expert per party to participate in this Technical Experts Group.
In response to questions and comments, several aspects of the compliance review process and short-term plans for upcoming by-elections were clarified:
- While by-elections do not offer the same environment as general elections, they do provide an opportunity to test new measures to increase compliance.
- Typically, when an elector registers on polling day, an entry is made in the poll book and the reconciliation with the registration certificate occurs at the end of the day. During upcoming by-elections, periodic reconciliations will occur several times throughout the day to allow for early identification of issues.
- The distinction between the new position of Compliance Advisor during by-elections and other staff is that the former will focus exclusively on quality control throughout the day. They will bring any issues to the attention of other staff, such as central poll supervisors, so that the issues can be addressed.
- In regard to the audit of polling stations from the 41st general election, the polls are being randomly selected, and will not be identifiable after the audit. This is a distinct process, designed to identify potential compliance issues generally rather than issues at specific polls.
Other issues raised by members included:
- The appropriateness and difficulty for Elections Canada to recruit deputy returning officers and poll clerks, particularly as the agency must rely on candidates for nominations. The CEO confirmed that, further to Elections Canada recommendations (which included abolishing the candidate's nomination process), PROC has recommended that EDAs assume responsibility for providing names, and that more time be provided to Elections Canada to recruit staff, should names not be submitted by EDAs. Elections Canada is awaiting the government's response.
- The requirement for 100 signatures per candidate: the CEO confirmed that the rule is a requirement of the CEA. He clarified that returning officers verify that the signatories are residents of the riding. They need not be registered electors, and no validation of signatures takes place.