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Special ballots cast in office of returning officer with no outer envelopes

Instructions Of The Chief Electoral Officer Issued Pursuant To Section 179 Of The Canada Elections Act For The Purpose Of Setting Aside The Special Ballot Of An Elector Who Did Not Place The Ballot In An Outer Envelope Or In An Inner And An Outer Envelope And For The Purpose Of Providing A New Special Ballot To The Elector

Whereas section 238 of the Canada Elections Act ("the Act") provides that an elector who has received a special ballot under Division 4 of Part 11 of the Act may vote in accordance with subsections 227(2) and (3);

Whereas subsection 227(2) of the Act provides that an elector shall vote by special ballot by writing the name of the candidate of his or her choice on the ballot, placing the ballot in the inner envelope and sealing it, placing the inner envelope in the outer envelope, and signing the declaration on the outer envelope and sealing it;

Whereas some electors may not place their ballot and inner envelope in an outer envelope or may not place their ballot in an inner and an outer envelope in accordance with subsection 227(2) of the Act;

Whereas special ballots cast in person at the office of the returning officer or delivered to that office that are not placed in an outer envelope cannot be verified pursuant to the process set out in sections 276 and 277 of the Act;

Whereas section 277 of the Act does not provide for the deputy returning officer to set aside an inner envelope that is not contained in an outer envelope or to set aside a special ballot that is not contained in an inner or an outer envelope;

And Whereas section 179 of the Act provides the following:

179. For the purpose of applying this Part [Part 11 of the Act] 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 issues instructions to the special voting rules administrator, to all returning officers and to all deputy returning officers in the office of a returning officer, as follows:

1. Where, in voting by special ballot, the elector failed to place the inner envelope in an outer envelope or the elector failed to place the special ballot in an inner and an outer envelope, the ballot is spoiled; the deputy returning officer shall set aside unopened the inner envelope or shall set aside the special ballot, as the case may be, at the counting of the ballots, shall note on it the reason it was set aside, write "Spoiled" on it, and the poll clerk and deputy returning officer shall initial it.

2. An elector who has cast his or her ballot as described above is deemed not to have been issued a special ballot and not to have voted by special ballot.

3. If the identity of the elector can be ascertained to the satisfaction of the returning officer before the close of polls on polling day, the returning officer shall, without delay, advise the elector and the election officer who accepted the elector's application for registration and special ballot that the elector is deemed not to have been issued a special ballot and not to have voted by special ballot.

4. These instructions supersede the instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer issued on September 19, 2008, entitled "Instruction issued pursuant to section 179 of the Canada Elections Act: Inner envelope of local elector received without outer envelope at the office of the returning officer."



October 13, 2015

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer