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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada following the May 12, 2003, and the June 16, 2003, by-elections


Voting in the by-elections

In the three by-elections, 72,694 of the 233,049 registered electors cast their ballots, for a turnout of 31.23%.

For those unable to vote on election day in May, advance voting took place on May 2, 3 and 5, from noon until 8:00 p.m. Most people voted on election day, May 12, at one of the 201 polling stations located throughout the electoral district. In accordance with section 131 of the Canada Elections Act, the polling stations in Perth–Middlesex were all open for 12 hours on election day, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For the June by-elections, advance voting took place from noon until 8:00 p.m. on June 6, 7 and 9. Most people voted on election day, June 16, at one of the 437 polling stations. In accordance with section 131 of the Canada Elections Act, since the two by-elections were held the same day in the same time zone, the polling stations in Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and Témiscamingue were all open for 12 hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Table 4 shows the details of the polling station sites for both sets of by-elections, and Table 5 shows how many and what kind of polling stations were available in each electoral district. In total, the returning officers maintained 674 polling stations at 175 polling sites. Table 6 shows that, for the three by-elections, only one polling station did not have level access.

In the electoral district of Perth–Middlesex, measures taken by the public health authorities in response to the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis forced the returning officer to move eight polling stations that originally were to be set up in chronic care facilities. These changes were made immediately after the issue of the writs and had no effect on communication with electors or the services offered.

Table 4
Location of polling sites
Place Perth–Middlesex Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Témiscamingue Totals
  No. % No. % No. % No. %
Seniors residence 17 30.36 10 26.32 6 7.41 33 18.89
Community centre 19 33.93 12 31.58 16 19.75 47 26.86
Church hall 4 7.14 3 7.89 5 6.17 12 6.86
Recreation centre 0 0.00 5 13.16 6 7.41 11 6.29
Commercial site 1 1.79 3 7.89 1 1.23 5 2.86
Educational 5 8.93 1 2.63 2 2.47 8 4.57
Fire hall 1 1.79 0 0.00 0 0.00 1 0.57
Hospital 2 3.57 2 5.26 1 1.23 5 2.86
Royal Canadian Legion 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0
Municipal or township hall 5 8.93 2 5.26 24 29.63 31 17.71
Private home 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0
Apartment building 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0
Other 2 3.57 0 0.00 20 24.69 22 12.57
Total 56 100 38 100 81 100 175 100

Table 5
Types of polling stations
Electoral district   Ordinary
Stationary Mobile Advance Total
Perth–Middlesex 195 6 12 213
Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière 248 4 11 263
Témiscamingue 182 3 13 198

Table 6
Polling station accessibility
Electoral district  Total number of polling stations Accessible polling stations Percentage
%
Perth–Middlesex 213 213 100
Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière 263 263 100
Témiscamingue 198 197 99.5

 

Special Voting Rules

As is always the case during any election, residents of the electoral districts who did not wish to vote in advance or at the ordinary polls, and residents travelling or temporarily residing outside Canada, could vote by mail-in ballot under the Special Voting Rules. Canadians abroad could obtain information about how to cast their ballots from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, through its diplomatic missions and consular posts, and by visiting the Elections Canada Web site. Members of the Canadian Forces, whether based in Canada or elsewhere, were informed of their voting rights by the Department of National Defence.

Persons in institutions, including those in hospitals and incarcerated electors, could also vote in the by-elections under the Special Voting Rules. Registration and voting in acute care hospitals took place on May 5 and 6 and June 9 and 10.

On October 31, 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer) that paragraph 51(e) of the Canada Elections Act, now paragraph 4(c), which limited voting rights for inmates, was in breach of section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, thus allowing all incarcerated electors to vote in federal elections, by-elections and referendums regardless of the term of their sentences. This meant that all incarcerated electors who were eligible to vote in the three by-elections could do so.

Table 7 shows the number of registrations for voting by special ballot in each electoral district. The three lists of electors registered under group 1 of the Special Voting Rules are separate from the lists that are revised by the returning officer during an event. The electors registered under group 2 of the Special Voting Rules are also entered on the lists of electors.

Table 7
Registrations under the Special Voting Rules
Categories of electors asking to vote under the Special Voting Rules Number of ballots requested
Perth–Middlesex Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Témiscamingue Total
Group 11        
Members of the Canadian Forces 90 252 227 569
Incarcerated electors 2 1 0 3
Electors temporarily residing outside Canada 22 18 2 42
Group 1 subtotal 114 271 229 614
Group 22        
Electors temporarily absent from their electoral districts 11 0 0 11
Electors voting in their electoral districts 185 272 363 820
Group 2 subtotal 196 272 363 831
Total number of registrations for people voting by special ballot 310 543 592 1,445

1 The three categories of electors registered under group 1 of the Special Voting Rules are separate from the lists that are revised by the returning officer during an event.

2 The categories of electors registered under group 2 of the Special Voting Rules are included on the local lists of electors.

 

Ballots cast and elector turnout

The turnout for the three by-elections ranged from 23.5% to 44.0%. In each case, the vast majority of electors voted on election day. Table 8 gives statistics on the number of ballots cast in each electoral district, and Table 9 compares the voter turnout in the by-elections with turnout in the November 27, 2000, general election.

Table 8
Statistics on the number of ballots cast, by voting method,
and voter turnout in the by-elections
Electoral district Number of electors on final lists Ordinary polls Advance voting Special Voting Rules Total votes cast Rejected ballots Total valid votes Voter turnout %
Perth–Middlesex 70,375 29,105 1,626 210 30,941 111 30,830 44.0
Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière 101,036 21,145 2,309 291 23,745 172 23,573 23.5
Témiscamingue 61,638 15,771 1,843 394 18,008 124 17,884 29.2

Table 9
Voter turnout in the by-elections and the 2000 general election
Electoral district  By-election
%
General election
%
Perth–Middlesex 44.0 61.2
Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière 23.5 66.4
Témiscamingue 29.2 62.4