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October 6, 2008 – Spoiled Ballot

40TH GENERAL ELECTION
POLLING DAY OCTOBER 14, 2008



ADAPTATION OF SECTION 175
OF THE CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION 17(1) OF THAT ACT



WHEREAS the 40th federal general election was called on September 7, 2008 with polling day on October 14, 2008;

WHEREAS subsection 151(2) of the Canada Elections Act provides that the deputy returning officer shall, on receiving a ballot from an elector, remove and destroy the counterfoil in full view of the elector and all other persons present before returning the ballot to the elector to deposit in the ballot box;

WHEREAS subsection 284(2) of the Canada Elections Act provides that no ballot shall be rejected by reason only that the deputy returning officer failed to remove the counterfoil;

WHEREAS subsection 284(3) of the Canada Elections Act provides that when a ballot is found with the counterfoil attached at the counting of the votes, the deputy returning officer shall, while concealing the number on it from all persons present and without examining it, remove and destroy the counterfoil;

WHEREAS on October 6, 2008 in the electoral district of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, a deputy returning officer in an advance polling station gave an elector a second ballot after the deputy returning officer failed to remove the counterfoil from the first ballot with which the elector voted, and the elector subsequently voted with the second ballot;

WHEREAS the Canada Elections Act does not provide for the deputy returning officer to give an elector a second ballot where the elector has already voted with a ballot whose counterfoil was not removed by the deputy returning officer;

WHEREAS the Canada Elections Act does not provide for a ballot whose counterfoil was not removed by the deputy returning officer to be marked as a spoiled ballot;

AND WHEREAS subsection 17(1) of the Canada Elections Act provides that:

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, section 175 of the Canada Elections Act is hereby adapted:

1. Subsection 175(2)(b) is adapted as follows:

(b) subject to subsection (b.1), empty the ballots cast during that day, in a manner that does not disclose for whom any elector has voted, into the envelope supplied for the purpose, seal the envelope with the seal provided by the Chief Electoral Officer and indicate on it the number of ballots contained in it;

2. Section 175 is adapted by the addition of subsection (b.1) immediately after subsection (b), as follows:

(b.1) where the deputy returning officer has erroneously given an elector a second ballot after the elector's first ballot was deposited in the ballot box with the counterfoil attached, and where it is possible to ascertain which ballot was deposited with the counterfoil attached in the ballot box, the ballot with the counterfoil attached shall be deemed to have been marked as a spoiled ballot under section 152 and shall be treated as such for the purposes of subsection 175(2)(c);

October 6, 2008




Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada