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

5 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 this by-election.

Overall, our testing results confirmed that regular electors (approximately 85% 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 15% 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 special 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 findings during this by-election are consistent with our findings reported in our report on the 2015 general election whereby errors were noted with the administration of special procedures. Elector interactions were observed where the oaths/declarations that would have been required under the circumstances were not administered. We identified situations when the election official did not administer special procedures at all compared to other situations where special procedures were administered but they were wrong based on the circumstances. While some election officials are aware that special procedures are required, there is a lack of clarity in terms of which certificates/forms to administer.

In addition, verbal oaths were not administered consistently and certificates were not always documented completely.

We noted changes to the design of the training curriculum that reinforce certain tasks and procedures. However, there are aspects of the training curriculum that can be streamlined to enhance the delivery of scenarios and the associated duties and functions that lead to the administration of 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.

We did observe and have reported certain errors and mistakes in documentation and record-keeping relative to electors requiring special procedures and have reported those errors and mistakes that we believe to be significant as "other observations".

While we believe that EC can and should streamline procedures, and modernize its voting processes and controls which would reduce the complexities of the voting processes and minimize the number of record-keeping errors, it is our understanding some changes may require legislative amendments. The issues that we observed and reported do not affect our underlying conclusion as set out above.