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Report on the October 24, 2016, By-election in Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner

3 Our approach

In order to provide reasonable assurance as to whether election officials performed their duties and functions as prescribed by the CEA, we selected a representative sample from across the ED and gathered sufficient and appropriate evidence to conclude on the audit objective. Evidence gathering techniques were comprised of direct observation, enquiries and inspection of election documents (representing the certificates, forms, reports and other paperwork required to serve an elector and document the results).

3.1 Approach to sample selection of polling sites

We selected a sample of polling sites within the ED. Our sample of polling sites was designed to reflect the population density of the ED and included polling sites in areas designated as urban or rural according to EC's designation of polling divisions.

We conducted audit procedures, designed to test how election officials carried out specified duties, on site at polling stations within the ED at advance polls and on election day. Our testing procedures included observation of the duties of the election officials. We tested how election officials performed their duties with respect to approximately 200 electoral interactions. There are certain inherent limitations to our audit approach, including:

These factors were discussed with and disclosed to EC.

Accordingly, our sampling and testing approach was designed specifically to support our overall audit mandate as specified by legislation at an aggregate level. For this electoral event, the by-election was called for one ED. Accordingly, our results are presented at the ED level. We did not attempt to draw any conclusions with respect to the performance of officials serving individual polling sites or individual geographic regions within the ED.

3.2 Assessment of election officials' compliance with legislative duties

In order to assess whether DROs, PCs and REGOs properly performed the duties imposed on them under the relevant sections of the Act, we determined that it was necessary to perform audit procedures on site at polling sites and stations at advance polls and on October 24, 2016.

We performed the following procedures at advance and election day polls.

1. Observed the duties performed by the REGO at a sample of polling sites for a sample of electors served at the registration desk to verify that duties performed met the requirements of the CEA. More specifically, that the following duties were performed.

2. Observed the duties performed by DROs and PCs for a sample of electors served at a sample of polling stations. More specifically, that the following duties were performed.

Our procedures were limited to observation without interacting or interfering with election officials as they were serving electors and administering their paperwork.

During advance polls, as well as on election day, we posed a series of questions to election officials to obtain their perspective on their training experience and supporting materials. We discuss our procedures in relation to our assessment of EC's approach to training and support of election officials in the section that follows.

3.3 Assessment of EC's approach to training and support of election officials

We performed the following procedures to assess EC's approach to training and supporting election officials to prepare them for their roles in relation to the by-election.


Footnote 8 As defined by Elections Canada using the "Have your ID ready" list.