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Independent audit report on the performance of the duties and functions of election officials – 42nd General Election

6. Conclusion

We conclude that election officials properly exercised the powers conferred on them, and properly performed the duties and functions imposed on them under sections 143 to 149, 161 to 162 and 169 of the CEA, on all days of advance polling and on polling day for the 42nd Canadian General Election.

Overall, our testing results confirmed that regular electors (approximately 90% of electors) were processed appropriately. EC officials properly performed their duties and functions by verifying elector identification, issuing a ballot and documenting that electors cast their ballot. For the 10% of electors who were subject to special procedures, overall, the testing results confirmed that identification of the electors was verified appropriately, including the duties performed by the REGO; however, some of the administrative procedures were not performed consistently. Despite this, our audit noted that election officials consistently acted in the best interest of the electors and worked diligently to ensure the most positive election experience for all.

Our audit identified situations where the administration of special procedures was not always completed in accordance with procedures, including the completion of appropriate documentation and obtaining signatures from electors, where necessary. This was directly linked to the provision of training whereby election officials did not feel that the training programs fully equipped them for the administrative responsibilities associated with these special procedures.

In reaching our conclusion, we considered the following factors.

  1. We were not charged with auditing the election results, our scope was limited and did not touch on the duties of all election officials and we did not assess all of the duties of the election officials we did observe. For example, we did not observe the counting of the ballots and recording and reporting of voting results.
  2. We did not note any major findings relative to regular voters.
  3. We noted one major finding relative to special procedures.
  4. We did observe and have reported certain errors and mistakes in documentation and record-keeping relative to both regular voters and those requiring special procedures and have reported those errors and mistakes that we believe to be significant as "other observations"; however, in reaching our conclusion, we were cognizant of the observations of the Supreme Court of Canada who observed inter alia, that "Given the complexity of administering a federal election, the tens of thousands of election workers involved, many of whom have no on-the-job experience, and the short timeframe for hiring and training them, it is inevitable that administrative mistakes will be made". (Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj, 2012 SCC 55)

Accordingly, while we believe that EC can and should improve its processes and controls to minimize the number of record-keeping errors and, where appropriate, recommend changes to the legislation that will simplify some of the complex requirements currently in place, the issues that we observed and reported do not affect our underlying conclusion as set out above.