Guidelines for Candidates' Representatives
You have been chosen as a candidate's representative for this federal election. These guidelines have been prepared to help you perform your duties in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.
The following is provided for your guidance. The final authority, however, is the Canada Elections Act; the central poll supervisor (or the deputy returning officer in places where there is no central poll supervisor) has the final say for its application at a polling place.
The primary role of election officers is to serve electors as they come to vote. Your role is to observe the election proceedings and provide the level of scrutiny necessary to a fair and transparent voting process.
We suggest that you vote at your advance poll or by special ballot if your duties will make it impossible for you to vote on election day at the polling station where you are legally entitled to vote.
Authorization of a Candidate's Representative
Authorization of a Candidate's Representative EC 20020 is the form that authorizes you to act as a candidate's representative in an electoral district for this federal general election or by‑election. Speak with your candidate or official agent to obtain the authorization form. Have them complete, sign and date the top section.
Before you can be admitted to the first polling station, you must present the form signed by your candidate or official agent. Show it to the central poll supervisor or to the deputy returning officer in places where there is no central poll supervisor. They will verify that the top section of the form has been duly completed. Then they will administer an oath and ask you to sign the declaration. They will complete the “Election officer section” of the form and return the yellow copy to you, along with the Candidate's Representative Identification Badge EC 20901 placed inside the Clear Plastic Badge Holder EC 20909—keep them together. You must not add or write anything (such as your name) on the badge.
You may visit any polling place in the same electoral district at any time during voting for this federal election without being required to take another oath, as long as you present the yellow copy of your signed authorization form.
Responsibilities at the Polling Place
As a candidate's representative, you must:
- maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the vote;
- respect the right of electors to an accessible voting process;
- be prepared to show your signed Authorization of a Candidate's Representative EC 20020 form to any central poll supervisor, deputy returning officer or registration officer, when requested;
- display the Candidate's Representative Identification Badge EC 20901 whenever you are acting in the role of a candidate's representative; and
- respect the decisions of the central poll supervisor or deputy returning officer in places where there is no central poll supervisor—these decisions will prevail unless overruled later by the returning officer or a judge.
As a candidate's representative, you may:
- visit any polling place in the same electoral district at any time during voting for this federal election without being required to take another oath, as long as you present the yellow copy of your signed authorization form;
- before the polls open, ask to have the ballots counted and ask to inspect the ballots, the ballot box and any other material relating to the vote, as long as the polls open at the designated time—to observe the process, you should be present 15 minutes before the polls open;
- sign any seals placed on the envelopes and ballot boxes containing the ballots and other election material;
- take note of the serial numbers on seals for the secure box or ballot boxes and verify against the seal control sheet;
- request to examine, but not handle, an elector's identification when the deputy returning officer is verifying proof of identity and residence—electors may vote even if they refuse to allow you to examine their identification, and election officers will keep a record of such situations;
- during voting hours, examine the list of electors with the deputy returning officer, provided it does not interfere with the voting process;
- request, through the deputy returning officer, that an elector repeat their name and address or take an oath, if you are in doubt about the elector's qualification (age and citizenship); and
- retrieve one copy of the Statement of the Electors Who Voted (bingo sheets) as soon as they are made available for a polling station.
As a candidate's representative, you may not:
- interfere with the voting process, at the risk of being asked to leave or being removed from the polling station or polling place;
- attempt to obtain information about how any elector is going to vote or has voted, or attempt to influence an elector's choice of candidate;
- systematically challenge electors as to their qualification to vote;
- handle an elector's identification;
- challenge an elector's qualification once a ballot is issued;
- take any photographs or make any audio or video recordings at polling stations—one exception to this policy is that the Chief Electoral Officer allows you to take a photograph of the Statement of the Electors Who Voted at the Advance Poll EC 50109 using a mobile device when the advance polls have closed, for the sole purpose of sharing a copy of the statement with you;
- sit at the same table as the deputy returning officer and poll clerk or the registration officer;
- enter the polling place after the doors have been closed and the count is underway, or re‑enter the polling place if you leave after the count has started;
- handle any ballots during the count;
- display partisan symbols or material inside or near a polling place, which may include the parking lot, grounds and sidewalk;
- display campaign literature or other material that could be taken as an indication of support for or opposition to the election of a candidate or a political party; and
- use or wear colours or emblems in the polling place that would identify your candidate or party.
|Location||Number of representatives (per candidate)|
|Advance, Mobile and Ordinary Polls||2 per polling station|
|Polls at Long-term Care Facilities||2 per polling station (only 1 representative when going bed to bed)|
|Registration Desks||1 per registration desk|
Voting at the Advance Poll
The poll clerk writes the required information about electors, and any oaths taken, on the Record of Votes Cast at the Advance Polling Station EC 50080 and then asks electors to sign their name. The poll clerk draws a line through the names of electors on the list as they come in to vote. Once an elector's ballot is placed in the box, the poll clerk ticks (ü) the Voted column on the Record of Votes Cast.
The poll clerk records anything unusual that happens at the polling station in the Notable Events section of the Advance Poll Book EC 50070.
Please note that an elector who is not on the revised list of electors may register to vote at their advance poll.
After closing the poll, the poll clerk provides the returning officer with the names of electors who voted each day, using the Statement of the Electors Who Voted at the Advance Poll EC 50109 (bingo sheet). This statement excludes electors who registered at the advance poll. The statement will be available to you at the close of polls if the central poll supervisor has access to a photocopier to make copies inside the building where the polling station is located. Alternatively, the Chief Electoral Officer allows you to take a photograph using a mobile device. This permission is an exception to the policy—it applies only when the advance polls have closed, and for the purpose of sharing a copy of the statement with you. Otherwise, a copy of the statement will be readily available at the returning office the next day.
Voting on Election Day
The official list of electors contains the names of electors who registered before election day. The poll clerk draws a line through the names of electors as they come in to vote. Once an elector's ballot is placed in the box, the poll clerk ticks (ü) the Voted column. Notable events are recorded in the Poll Book EC 50060, along with information about electors who voted under circumstances that require an oath.
Please note that an elector who is not on the official list of electors may register to vote at their poll.
The poll clerk tracks the names of electors who voted on election day using the Statement of the Electors Who Voted on Polling Day EC 50111 (bingo sheet). This sheet excludes electors who registered at the polling place. Copies of bingo sheets are available to you, on request, once an hour throughout the day. Speak with the information officer at the polling place (or to the poll clerk in places where there is no information officer) for instructions on how to collect bingo sheets.
Elector's Name Already Crossed Off the List
Electors whose names have already been struck off the list when they arrive at the polling station are not allowed to vote there, unless they take a written oath stating that they have not previously requested a ballot in the election. Electors can be struck off the list by mistake, or because they requested a special ballot (indicated by an “S” in the margin), voted at an advance poll (indicated by an “X” in the margin) or their name was removed from the list of electors during the revision period.
Placing the Ballot in the Ballot Box
When an elector returns with their ballot, the deputy returning officer verifies that the ballot is the same one issued and removes the numbered counterfoil. The ballot is returned to the elector so they can place it in the box. If an elector prefers, they may ask the deputy returning officer to deposit the ballot for them.
Counting of the Ballots
Closing the Polling Place
At the time set for closing a polling place, if there are any electors at any polling stations or in line at the door who have not voted, election officers finish serving these electors and close the polling place doors. Any electors who are not present at the time set for closing are not allowed to vote, even if others are still voting when they arrive.
Counting the Ballots
Along with election officers, candidates or candidates' representatives may be present when ballots are counted at a polling station. You must arrive before the counting begins if you wish to observe the process. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance.
Only deputy returning officers may handle the ballots, but they show everyone present how each is marked. As the ballots are counted, the poll clerk records the results on the Statement of the Vote EC 50100.
You may object to the validity of any ballot and have the objection recorded in the Poll Book, although the final decision as to whether a ballot is accepted or rejected rests exclusively with the deputy returning officer at each polling station.
You are encouraged to observe the counts throughout the polling place, especially if there are few representatives at each polling station. You may witness the process and sign seals at multiple polling stations.
After the count, you may print and sign your name on any envelope seal and on the Statement of the Vote EC 50100. Upon request, you will receive the Copy of Statement of the Vote for Candidates and Representatives EC 50110.
If you have questions about your role, please contact the returning officer for the electoral district in which you will be working. You may also contact Elections Canada at the coordinates below:
Phone: 1-800-463‑6868 or 613-993‑2975
30 Victoria Street