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Adaptation to allow for certain special ballots to be counted

ADAPTATION BY INSTRUCTION
PURSUANT TO SECTION 179 OF THE CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE 41ST GENERAL ELECTION

TO ALLOW FOR CERTAIN SPECIAL BALLOTS THAT WERE NOT
PLACED IN AN OUTER ENVELOPE TO BE COUNTED

WHEREAS the 41st federal general election was called on March 26, 2011 with polling day on May 2, 2011;

WHEREAS section 241 of the Canada Elections Act ("the Act") provides that an elector who applies to vote in person in the office of the returning officer after ballots for the electoral district have been printed shall be given a ballot that is not a special ballot and shall immediately vote in the manner described in paragraphs 151(1)(a) and (b) and 227(2)(b) to (d) of the Act and return the outer envelope to the election officer;

WHEREAS in the case of 30 electors who cast their ballot in the offices of the Returning Officers for the electoral districts of Mount Royal and Vaudreuil-Soulanges, ballots were not placed in an outer envelope in accordance with paragraphs 227(2)(c) to (d) of the Act due to an error in the instructions given to the electors by an election officer;

WHEREAS ballots cast at the office of the returning officer that are not placed in an outer envelope cannot be counted pursuant to the verification and counting process set out in sections 276 to 278 of the Act and in instructions issued to election officers by the Chief Electoral Officer, with the result that the electors in question would not have their votes counted due to the aforementioned error;

WHEREAS all 30 electors whose ballots were placed in the ballot boxes were determined by an election officer to be entitled to vote in the electoral district;

WHEREAS allowing the ballots to be counted in the circumstances of this situation would not threaten the integrity of the ballot given that all electors who voted in this way had their applications and required identification verified by an election officer in the returning office, and that voting took place in the presence of an election officer;

AND WHEREAS section 179 of the Act provides that:

179. For the purpose of applying this Part to, or adapting any provision of this Part in respect of, a particular circumstance, the Chief Electoral Officer may issue any instructions that he or she considers necessary in order to execute its intent.

THEREFORE, pursuant to section 179 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer adapts sections 276 and 278 of the Act for the counting of the special ballots at the returning officer's office as follows:

276. (1.1) Where an outer envelope has not been completed, due to erroneous instructions given by an election officer, but the returning officer is satisfied that the ballots were properly cast by residents of the electoral district who properly completed the application form, and that the ballots were placed in a ballot box to preserve the integrity of the vote, the requirement to verify the outer envelopes does not apply with respect to those ballots.

278. (4) In the case where a count includes ballots referred to in subsection 276 (1.1), the deputy returning officer and poll clerk, shall, before unfolding or counting the ballots removed from the inner envelopes, place all such ballots in a single ballot box with all ballots identified under subsection 276(1.1). After all the ballots are so combined, the counting process may commence.


April 28, 2011



Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada