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October 31, 2013 Permitting additional poll workers at polling sites

November 25, 2013 By-elections
in the Electoral Districts of

Bourassa, Québec
Provencher, Manitoba
Brandon–Souris, Manitoba
Toronto Centre, Ontario

Adaptation of the Canada Elections Act
Pursuant to Subsection 17(1) of that Act
for the Purposes of Permitting Additional
Poll Workers at Advance Polls and on Polling Day

Whereas by-elections were called on October 20, 2013 in the electoral districts of Bourassa (Québec), Provencher (Manitoba), Brandon−Souris (Manitoba) and Toronto Centre (Ontario) with polling day on November 25, 2013;

Whereas staffing levels at advance polls and at ordinary polls on polling day were established in the Canada Elections Act (the Act) before recent legislative changes were adopted that require election officers to perform additional and more complex tasks; for instance, implementing the new voter identification requirements and transmitting information about who voted to candidates' representatives at 30-minute intervals;

Whereas these legislative changes created a need to answer more information requests from electors, imposing a heavier burden on poll workers already tasked with carrying out many duties, and the scope of this heavier burden was not foreseen;

Whereas the Act provides for fewer election officers at advance polls, and a growing number of electors are choosing to vote at advance polls;

Whereas some advance polling stations therefore have an unusually high number of ballots to count;

Whereas ensuring that proceedings at the polls are not delayed and that the conduct of the vote is smooth are important objectives underlying the Act;

Whereas the Act does not provide for the appointment of additional election officers where necessary to effectively conduct the election;

And Whereas subsection 17(1) of the Act provides the following:

17. (1) During an election period or within 30 days after it, if an emergency, an unusual or unforeseen circumstance or an error makes it necessary, the Chief Electoral Officer may adapt any provision of this Act and, in particular, may extend the time for doing any act, subject to subsection (2), or may increase the number of election officers or polling stations.

Therefore, pursuant to subsection 17(1) of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer hereby adapts the Canada Elections Act as follows for the purposes of proceedings at advance polls and at ordinary polls on polling day:

1. Subsection 22(1) is adapted by adding, immediately after paragraph (o), the following additional paragraph (p):

(p) Additional persons appointed by the returning officer with the prior approval of the Chief Electoral Officer to carry out functions provided for under this Act, whose presence at a polling site or at the counting of the votes is necessary for the conduct of the vote in circumstances other than those provided for elsewhere in the Act.

2. Subsection 135(1) is adapted by adding, immediately after paragraph (f), the following additional paragraph (g):

(g) Any additional person mentioned at paragraph 22(1)(p), if the function he or she was appointed to carry out requires that person to be present at a polling station.

3. The Act is adapted by adding, immediately after subsection 283(1), the following additional subsection (1.1):

(1.1) For the purposes of this Part, a deputy returning officer includes an additional deputy returning officer, and a poll clerk includes an additional poll clerk, where these additional deputy returning officers and additional poll clerks are persons mentioned at paragraph 22(1)(p), and the tasks they were appointed to carry out require them to be present at the counting of the votes.

October 31, 2013

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada