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The Evolution of the Duties to be Fulfilled by Poll Staff with Regards to Registration and Voting on Polling Day and Advance Polling Days, 1920 to 2012

PART I. The Legislative Evolution of Election Officers'
Polling Station Duties from 1920 to 2012

Detailed enumerations of all the duties of deputy returning officers and poll clerks, as they were set out in both the Dominion Elections Act of 1920 and the Canada Elections Act as it stood in December 2012, were compiled. They can be found in Appendix 2 and 3 respectively, together with references to the legislation in each case. Any reader looking for a list of the duties to be performed by poll staff in both years is invited to look at these appendices.

This part highlights changes to the Act that affected such duties.

A. Duties in Ordinary Polling Stations

1. Prior to the Opening of the Poll

Polling operations officially start at the appointed hour as per the Act, which now varies across time zones, but practitioners know that many operations have to be carried out prior to that moment. DROs must receive the election materials supplied by the returning officer and keep them in a safe place until polling day. They must be present at the polling station well before the poll is open. They must receive from the candidates' agents written authority to act as such. And they must make sure that the requirements of the Act with regards to voting compartments, tables and pencils are complied with.

Since 1948, DROs have been required to publicly initial all ballot papers on the back, prior to the opening of the poll, and to do so in full view of candidates or their representatives, if present. Prior to that, ballot papers were initialled one at a time as electors came in. The reason for this innovation, as evidenced by the proceedings of the 1947 special House committee, was the fear that DROs could vary their initials in the case of specific voters, which created the possibility of a breach in the secrecy of the vote.

On the other hand, many duties that had to be performed in 1920 have disappeared. To start with, DROs no longer have to appoint poll clerks and to provide the returning officer with the poll clerks' names and occupations, as they did in 1920. Since 1993, following a recommendation of the Lortie Commission, poll clerks have been appointed for each polling division in each electoral district, by the returning officer, on the recommendation of the party that came second in the electoral district in the previous election. Since 1992, DROs have no longer been required to procure a ballot box whenever the returning officer fails to provide them with this vital article. They no longer have to lock the ballot box and keep the key thereof throughout the election. This requirement disappeared in 1977. In 1920, DROs were obliged to have printed directions for voters posted in conspicuous places in and outside of polling stations. Since 1993, the Act has not explicitly required them to do so. This is now done by central poll supervisors in central polling places, though in the single polling stations commonly found in rural areas, DROs are expected to ensure proper signage.

Though the statute makes no mention of it, DROs and poll clerks must now assemble and seal the cardboard ballot box that has become standard, as well as the cardboard voting compartments.

2. During Voting Hours

(a) Identification of electors

In 1920, the duties of DROs on that account were relatively simple. They had to have electors tell them their name and "addition" (occupation). Whenever the DRO, poll clerk or an agent of a candidate had doubts as to the qualification of an elector, the DRO had to administer the appropriate oath to the elector. From 1934 onwards, electors had to state their residence in addition to their name and occupation. Since 1977, electors have had to declare only their name and address; their occupation is no longer required. This in order to protect citizens' privacy.

The rules were repeatedly altered over the years, especially in 2007, and now stand as follows. Electors must tell DROs and poll clerks their name and address. Poll clerks must ascertain that each elector's name and address are on the list of electors. If not, they must determine whether an elector falls under one of the following scenarios and can therefore be admitted to vote, under certain conditions in the current Act:

  1. the name and address on the list of electors corresponds so closely with the name and address of a person who demands a ballot as to suggest that it is intended to refer to that person, in which case the elector will be administered an oath (section 146)
  2. another person has already voted under the same name, in which case the elector will be sworn in (section 147)
  3. the name of the elector has been crossed off in error from the list at an advance polling station (section 148)
  4. the elector's name and address is not on the list, but
    1. the elector gives the DRO a transfer certificateFootnote 8 (paragraph 149(a))
    2. the elector (as determined by the DRO and the returning officer) is listed on the preliminary list of electors or was registered during the revision period (paragraph 149(b)); or
    3. the elector presents a registration certificate (paragraph 149(c))

DROs and poll clerks still may require an elector, if they have "reasonable doubts" as to the voter's qualification, to be sworn in (section 144). Scenarios (2) and (4a) existed under the 1920 legislation. Scenario (1) was added in 1921. Scenario (4b) was added in 1938. Scenarios (4c) and (3) were added in 1993 and 2000 respectively.

Until recently, it was out of the question for election officers to request identification documents from voters. Indeed, from 1970 to 1993, DROs, poll clerks and candidates' agents were prohibited from requesting that electors, in order to prove their right to vote, produce a birth certificate, naturalization papers or any other document whatsoever. Starting in 1993, as the Lortie Commission had recommended, DROs and poll clerks were empowered, if they had doubts concerning someone's identity or the right to vote of a person, to request that the person show "satisfactory proof of identity". The person could instead take an oath. This requirement was later tightened. Since 2007, DROs and poll clerks have had additional duties with regards to the identification of electors. They must receive proof of identity from each elector, which may be either a government-issued identity card with their name, address and photograph, or two pieces of identification, each of which establishes the elector's name and at least one of which establishes the elector's address. Electors may instead prove their identity and residence by taking an oath if accompanied by a registered elector (with identification) who vouches under oath for them. Both oaths are administered by DROs and poll clerks. Oath takers must be informed of voter's qualification and of the penalties for violating the Canada Elections Act. DROs and poll clerks may, in addition, require electors to be sworn in if they have reasonable doubts concerning the residence of the elector (subsection 143(3.2)).

Identification requirements apply to all electors who come to the polls, and constitute a significant increase in the duties of the DROs. The source of these new requirements appears to be the concern among political parties that the so-called "honour system" prevailing before with regards to the identification of electors facilitated impersonation and voting by persons not qualified as electors. In its 13th report (June 2006), the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs stated the following:

Many Canadians have expressed concern about the potential for fraud and misrepresentation in voting. Members of the Committee share this concern. While we have no means of knowing how widespread this problem is, the fact that it exists undermines the integrity of the electoral process. To an extent, the concern stems from the unreliability of the Register of Electors, and the lack of confidence that many of us have in the permanent voters list.

At present, there is no requirement that voters show any identification before being able to vote, so long as their names are on the list. In our society, most important activities require that an individual be able to furnish some form of proper identification, often with a photograph. In the case of voting, we do not believe that it would be unreasonable to impose a similar requirement. Moreover, it would bring home to voters the seriousness and public importance of what they are about to do: exercise a valued and fundamental democratic right.Footnote 9

(b) Polling day registration

In 1920, only electors in rural polling stations could vote without their name being on the list of electors.Footnote 10 The DRO would receive an application for polling day registration from such an elector accompanied by a registered elector who would vouch for him or her and would administer oaths to both electors. Polling day registration was made available to both rural and urban residents in 1993, and the rules for polling day registration were made uniform in 2000. Receiving applications for polling day registration at registration desks is now a duty of registration officers, whose position was created in 1993 (as mentioned earlier, they were known until 1996 as "revising officers"). However, in single or dual polling stations, DROs, if so authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer, may receive applications for polling day registration made at polling stations. In either case, DROs or registration officers must check whether applicants satisfy the identification requirements for polling day registration, complete registration certificates authorizing electors registered on polling day to vote, administer oaths to electors with no proof of identity and to the other elector (with identification) who vouches for them, and advise oath takers of the qualifications for electors.

The standardization of polling day registration rules sprang from fear of Charter-based litigation. Rural electors could vote even if their name was not on the list of electors, provided a duly registered elector vouched for them, while urban voters could not. As many of the latter were turned away because their name was not on the list, there was a serious danger that they may go to court and introduce actions based on the discriminatory character of the legislation.

(c) Other oaths

In 1920, DROs had to administer oaths:

DROs must now, in addition to the above, administer an oath to: electors who were allowed to vote despite a mistake in the relevant entry in the list of electors (a duty added in 1921); electors who claim that their name has been crossed off from the list of electors by error because they supposedly voted at an advance poll (a possibility created in 2000); electors with no identification; and the electors (with identification) who vouch for such persons (under rules introduced in 2007). This means a total of eight oaths, compared with four in 1920.

(d) Standard voting procedure

Little has changed with regards to the standard voting procedure. As noted above, the initialling of ballot papers has, since 1948, had to be done by DROs before the opening of the poll, rather than separately for each elector, as before. It is no longer the privilege of DROs to insert ballot papers into the ballot box, as electors have had the right, since 1993, to do so themselves. Chief Electoral Officer Kingsley had suggested this innovation in order to emphasize the personal character of the vote. Since 1938, DROs have been required to allow electors who are still in the polling station or in line at the door at the close of voting hours to vote, which implies that the total number of voters to be dealt with could be higher than before. This had been recommended by a special committee the previous year. Since 1951, DROs have no longer been required to number the back of the counterfoil of each ballot paper, as a serial number is printed thereon. There was concern that DROs could vary their writing for some voters and facilitate a breach in the secrecy of the vote. Since 1951 also, DROs have no longer had to authorize a candidate's agent's absence from the polling station.

In the era of wooden or metal ballot boxes, DROs had to lock boxes. From 1948 onwards, they also had to seal them with a special metal seal. This eliminated the potential for fraud: in the absence of candidates' agents, the DRO could always open the box with the key without leaving any trace, whereas a metal seal could not be broken. Locks were dispensed with after 1977.

(e) Assisted voting

With regards to electors unable to read or incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause from voting, DROs had the power in 1920 to assist such electors in voting in the manner directed by such electors, after an oath had been administered and in the presence of the candidates' agents. As of 1930, the task of marking ballots on behalf of blind voters would no longer be limited to DROs. Such voters were empowered to ask another person to mark the ballot on their behalf. DROs had to administer an oath to these individuals to ensure that no one assist more than one elector in this way. Since 1970, blind voters have been able to request the assistance of a relative or a friend.

Today, while electors who are unable to read or who have a physical disability may be assisted by a friend or family member, DROs may also be requested to assist them. Electors who have a visual impairment must now be provided with a template that allows them to mark the ballot without the assistance of either the DRO or a companion. Templates appeared for the first time in the legislation in 1992, but there is evidence that such devices have been available to visually impaired voters since the 1980s, even though the law did not provide explicitly for these devices. DROs must still administer an oath to persons who wish to assist an elector in marking the ballot.

(f) Bedridden patients

In 1951, a new duty was added for DROs. Under a new clause authorizing the establishment of polling stations in a sanatorium, a chronic hospital or similar institution for care and treatment of tuberculosis or other chronic diseases, they were empowered to carry the ballot box and election material from room to room to take the vote of bedridden patients. In addition, they had to give patients the necessary assistance. In 1970, this duty was extended to include patients who were ordinarily resident in the polling division in which the institution was located and otherwise qualified as electors.

(g) Proxy voting

In 1970, proxy voting was made available for a limited number of electors because such electors could not be expected to vote otherwise. They were electors who had reason to believe they would be unable to vote at normal hours by reason of their absence from the polling station in the course of their employment as fishermen, mariners or prospectors; due to illness or physical incapacity; or while full-time students at academic institutions. In 1977, members of an air crew, forestry crew, or topographical survey crew, as well as trappers, were added to the list of people who may vote by proxy.

For DROs and poll clerks, this created the following duties. DROs would receive from returning officers a copy of each proxy certificate issued for their polling division. On polling day, they would receive proxy certificates from voters and administer an oath to proxy voters. They would have to transmit proxy certificates to the returning officer. In rural polling divisions located in so-called "Schedule III ridings",Footnote 12 they were empowered to accept an appointment under oath in place of a proxy certificate. In a register called the "poll book", poll clerks would have to record, opposite the name of the elector, the fact that he or she voted by proxy.

These duties disappeared in 1993, when proxy voting was abolished and the categories of electors listed above were encouraged to vote by way of special ballot.

(h) Records of polling operations

Poll clerks' chief duty is to maintain appropriate and detailed records of all polling operations. This was primarily done by entering information into the poll book. As a matter of routine, poll clerks in 1920 had to enter in the poll book the name and "addition" (occupation) of each elector who voted, with a number beside the name of each elector. From 1934 onwards, they also had to enter the address of the elector. After 1977, the occupation no longer had to be entered in the poll book.

Following a recommendation by the Lortie Commission, any reference to the poll book disappeared from the Act in 1993. The same year, poll clerks were relieved of the obligation to enter the name and address of each elector who had voted, together with a number before the name. Now, they simply indicate on the list of electors that the elector has voted.

However, poll clerks still had to record in the poll book any special procedure that had been used during the poll. They still have to do that, but by filling out appropriate forms for each occurrence instead. In practice, such occurrences are recorded in the poll book.

They included, in 1920:

All of the above had to be entered in the poll book in 1920. Other particulars to be entered in the poll book were introduced in subsequent years, and must still be recorded. This is the case for:

Since 2007, poll clerks have also had to provide candidates' representatives, every 30 minutes, the identity of every elector who voted on polling day (except those who registered on that day). This requirement was added at the request of political parties, so that they could ascertain more easily whether their supporters had come to the polls and offer assistance to those of their supporters who had not yet done so.

In 1920, when polling day registration was confined to rural polling divisions, poll clerks had to enter in the list of electors the names of electors who had been vouched for by an elector whose name was on the list of electors of that polling station, together with the mention "Sworn". Starting in 1993, both rural and urban residents would have the option of registering on polling day. The rules became consistent for both types of ridings in 2000. Now, poll clerks must indicate on the appropriate form the names of electors who voted under a registration certificate. For polling clerks in urban polling stations, this is an increase in duties.

In some ways, the duties of poll clerks have been simplified. For the vast majority of electors, a simple indication on the list of electors is enough, and the work of the poll clerk is confined to the recording of special cases, the list of which has, however, been expanded. Moreover, it appears that in practice, the requirement to fill out, every 30 minutes, a form called Statement of the Electors who Voted on Polling Day, informally known as the "bingo card", represents a significant increase in duties, as over 20 such forms can be filled out during a typical polling day.

(i) Order in polling stations

Elections used to be rowdy events, and the 1920 Act still included detailed provisions to ensure "peace and good order" at elections. DROs were defined as "conservators of the peace" and were invested with all the powers appertaining to a justice of the peace. This meant they could appoint and swear special constables, arrest or cause by verbal order to be arrested, place or cause to be placed in the custody of a constable any person disturbing the peace, or even cause such arrested persons to be imprisoned. Every poll clerk had the authority of a constable for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Act respecting summary proceedings in cases of personation. And every DRO had the power to appoint special constables for the same purpose.

Since then, there has been a trend towards de-emphasizing the role of DROs and poll clerks with regards to the maintenance of public order, so that they could focus more on their administrative duties. This reflects the fact that elections have become much more peaceful operations. Already in 1947, Chief Electoral Officer Jules Castonguay had referred to constables as "doormen". In 1934, for the first time, returning officers were empowered to group some polling stations in a central polling place, a practice that was particularly relevant for urban areas, and has continued ever since. Such groupings facilitated the task of DROs and poll clerks with regards to the maintenance of public order insofar as they were no longer alone when facing disturbances. Starting in 1977, returning officers were empowered to appoint for each central polling place a "supervising deputy returning officer" (renamed a "central poll supervisor" in 1993) to keep them informed on matters affecting peace and good order in the central polling place. DROs who were appointed for a polling station included in a central polling place then lost their authority to appoint special constables. The power to appoint special constables in central polling places was transferred to the returning officer.

Any reference to poll clerks having the authority of a constable disappeared in 2000. Since 1993, the law has empowered returning officers to appoint in each central polling place an "information officer" to provide information to the electors, and a "person responsible for maintaining order" (formerly known as "constable"). Under section 479 of the Act, every deputy returning officer, central poll supervisor and person responsible for public order is responsible for maintaining order during voting hours at any place where voting takes place. These officers have the power to order a person who threatens public peace to leave the station or even to arrest that person without warrant. If an order to leave has not been obeyed, the official may use such force as is reasonably necessary to eject the person.

The thrust of these changes was to relieve DROs and poll clerks, at least those working in central polling places, of their earlier responsibilities with regards to maintaining peace and good order in their polling stations. However, this does not prevent disgruntled electors from venting their frustration at them.

3. The Counting of the Votes

Counting the votes is chiefly a duty to be accomplished by deputy returning officers, and the role of poll clerks is relatively minor. Of course, candidates' agents have the right to attend this crucial operation as well.

The main changes with regards to counting occurred when the Act was revised in 1938, and the whole operation was made more rigorous. DROs no longer simply put spoiled and unused ballots into distinct envelopes to be sealed. They must also count spoiled ballots, and the number thereof must appear on the envelopes where such ballots are inserted. In addition, DROs must count unused ballots not detached from books of ballots and place them with stubs of used ballots into a distinct envelope on which the total number of unused ballots must also be written. Then, they must total the two numbers, as well as the number of electors who voted, in order to ascertain that all ballots provided by the returning officer are accounted for. Also in 1938, a tally sheet to be used by poll clerks was added to election materials, so that a note could be made beside the name of each candidate for each vote cast for them. Since 2000, such tally sheets have also been available to all persons present at the counting of votes so that they can keep their own count.

The list of grounds on which DROs must reject a ballot paper has been expanded twice. Since 1970, ballot papers not marked in the circle at the right of the candidate's name have had to be rejected. Since 2000, ballot papers with a vote given to a person other than a candidate have had to be voided.Footnote 13 Since 1960, DROs and poll clerks have had to sign the seal on each envelope containing the ballots cast for each candidate. Since 1993, neither officer has been obliged to take oaths certifying that they carried out the counting operations properly. Since 2000, DROs have had to write on the envelopes containing the ballots cast for each candidate the number thereof.

DROs initially had to mail each candidate the certificate stating the result of the poll, by registered letter and to his or her address. After 1925, it was no longer necessary to do this by way of registered letter, and in 1993, the entire requirement was deleted. Now, the returning officer will transmit such statements only at the candidate's request.

Since 1977, the ballot box has no longer had to be locked. It is sealed by the DRO.

B. Duties in Advance Polling Stations

The chief development since 1920 with regards to advance polling is the increase in the number of electors who may take advantage of this procedure, and in the number of electors who actually do (see Part II below).

Before 1960, advance polling was seen as a "privilege" (from 1934 onwards, this very word was explicitly used in the Act) and the categories of electors who were entitled to take advantage of this privilege were enumerated in a restrictive way by the legislation. Schedule II to the Act, added in 1920, listed the places where advance polling stations could be established.

In 1960, the notion of privilege was abolished and advance polling was made available to all electors who had reason to believe they would be absent from the polling station on polling day, providing that they sign an affidavit to that effect. The number of votes cast at advance polling stations jumped from 11,228 in 1958 to 98,447 in 1962.Footnote 14 In 1970, advanced age, infirmity or the probable termination of pregnancy, or being unable to vote on ordinary polling day because of religious beliefs or membership in a religious order, became grounds that justified that electors could vote at advance polling stations. Incapacitated electors were allowed in 1977 to vote at advance polling stations under a transfer certificate issued by the returning officer. As soon as 1970, some advance polling stations had level access.

The requirement for an affidavit was abolished in 1977, and was replaced with a simple declaration from electors that they belonged to one of the categories entitled to vote in advance. Such a declaration was eliminated in 1993, making advance polling what it is today: an added convenience allowing electors to vote when they wish. The possibility to vote in advance at the office of the returning officer was introduced in 1977, but this is of no concern to us, as this procedure is administered by returning officers and election clerks.

Since 1920, the Act has always provided that advance polls be operated under the same rules as ordinary polling stations, unless a different procedure was provided for.

In keeping with the view of advance voting as a privilege, the procedures associated with it were more demanding in 1920 than today. DROs had to receive, from each elector who wished to vote, a certificate issued by the registrar or revising officer of his or her polling division (after 1938, the issue of such certificates became a responsibility of returning officers or persons under their authority), to the effect that he or she was the person to whom the privilege of voting at an advance poll extended. This document was the only basis for accepting the request of an elector to vote, as there was no list of electors for advance polling stations. Poll clerks had to keep certificates deposited and to mark thereon the notations they would make in the poll book, as there was no poll book for advance polls. Second, DROs had to have both a Statement of Identification (Form 53) and a Declaration of Necessity (Form 54) signed by the elector in their presence. DROs had to check whether certificates had been issued by an official of another electoral district, in which case the request of the elector could not be accepted.

In 1960, certificates, statements of identification and declarations of necessity were replaced by a single document, an affidavit in which electors stated that their name appeared on the list of electors for a specific polling division located in the advance polling district, and that they had reason to believe they would be absent from the polling division on polling day. DROs had to complete the attestation clause of each affidavit. They also had to consecutively number such affidavits and ask poll clerks to keep a record of completed affidavits for voting at an advance poll.

Polling day registration in advance polls was introduced in urban polling divisions in 1993. The Act provides for no registration officers in this case, though in practice the Chief Electoral Officer has adapted the Act so that there could be. In case no registration officer has been appointed, DROs must receive applications from electors for registration at an advance polling station. They must ascertain the identity and residence of applicants for registration by checking their identification documents. They must also receive applications from electors with no identification documents who are vouched for by an elector of the same polling station with such documents, and administer oaths to both electors. If satisfied, they must complete a registration certificate to be signed by the elector. Poll clerks must indicate on a prescribed form the names of electors who are admitted to vote after having registered on polling day. They must also indicate on the prescribed form that an elector whose name does not appear on the revised list of electors has voted in accordance with subsection 173(2), either because his or her name was on the preliminary list of electors, or because he or she obtained a registration certificate.

The elimination of certificates in 1960, together with the increase in the number of electors who could vote in advance, have necessitated since then the use of the lists of electors for all the polling divisions included in each advance polling district.

The voting procedure and counting of the votes have always been conducted in advance polling stations as in ordinary polling stations, subject to necessary adjustments. As advance polling has always been spread over several days, DROs at the end of the first two days of advance polling have to open the ballot box, take out the ballot papers therein (without unfolding them) and insert the ballot papers into an envelope to be sealed. Starting in 1960, in keeping with the procedure followed at ordinary polling stations, they also had to indicate on the envelope the number of ballot papers included therein. In 1920, DROs had to count unused ballot papers and the certificates that had been presented, place them into an envelope and endorse on it the number of unused ballot papers and certificates included in the envelope. Starting in 1960, when certificates were replaced with affidavits, the latter had to be put into the envelope and the quantity indicated thereon. In 1977, when affidavits disappeared, DROs had to instead count the names of electors who had voted at the advance polling station as shown in the Record of Votes Cast at the Advance Polling Station kept by poll clerks. The number of such electors was written on the envelope together with the number of unused ballot papers.

Starting in 1960 as well, DROs were instructed to count spoiled ballot papers, to place them into an envelope, to seal the envelope and to indicate thereon the number of spoiled ballot papers included.

The final step at the close of an advance polling station in 1920 was for DROs to affix their signature on both the envelope containing the ballot papers and the envelope containing the unused ballot papers and certificates. Since 1960, poll clerks have been instructed to also affix their signatures on both envelopes. Then, DROs would place both envelopes in the ballot box, to be locked and (from 1948 onwards) sealed as well. Since 1977, the box has only had to be sealed, as locks have been dispensed with. Since 1960, DROs have been specifically instructed to keep the ballot box in their custody between the voting hours for advance polls.

The re-opening of the poll necessitated in 1920 that DROs, at the opening of the poll, unlock (and from 1948 onwards, unseal) and open the ballot box, take out the envelope containing unused ballots and open it for the poll to operate. Locks disappeared in 1977.

The counting of the votes starts with DROs and poll clerks opening the ballot box and the sealed envelopes containing the ballots cast, and then counting them.



Footnote 8 A transfer certificate allows some electors to vote at a polling station even if they are registered for another polling station. Transfer certificates are now granted, under sections 158 and 159 of the Act, to candidates, election officers working in the polling station, and electors with a disability.

Footnote 9 Canada. House of Commons. Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. 2006. Improving the Integrity of the Electoral Process: Recommendations for Legislative Change. Parliament of Canada, p. 25. www.parl.gc.ca/content/hoc/Committee/391/PROC/Reports/RP2287023/PROC_Rpt13/PROC_Rpt13-e.pdf (accessed December 15, 2012).

Footnote 10 Referred to as the "list of voters" in the Dominion Elections Act.

Footnote 11 Dominion Elections Act, S.C. 1920, s. 62(7)

Footnote 12 Schedule III appeared for the first time in the Dominion Elections Act in 1925, and originally listed the electoral districts where the nomination of candidates could take place at a different time. Twenty-one electoral districts were listed in 1970, and 25 in 1990. Schedule 3 still exists, but for a different purpose: under subsection 66(1) of the Canada Elections Act, the inclusion of an electoral district in Schedule 3 has the effect of lowering from 100 to 50 the number of signatures supporting the nomination of a candidate. The 39 electoral districts listed are generally huge and sparsely populated, and are located in northern areas of the country. The list can be altered by the Chief Electoral Officer under section 539 of the Act.

Footnote 13 This provision (section 76 and paragraph 284(1)(c) of the Act) may look awkward, as the ballot paper is formatted so that no space is provided for writing the name of a candidate other than one who has been duly nominated and is listed. One can speculate that this provision could be invoked in two cases: if a person casting a special ballot had written thereon the name of a person who is not a candidate, or if a standard ballot were cast for a candidate who died on the eve of election day.

Footnote 14 These figures are taken from an internal compendium of election statistics available at Elections Canada.