October 5, 2008 – Lock-up of Prisoners
40TH GENERAL ELECTION
POLLING DAY OCTOBER 14, 2008
ADAPTATION OF SECTION 245 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 to be held on October 14, 2008;
WHEREAS Division 5 of Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act provides a process to allow for incarcerated electors to vote during a federal election, and that subsection 245(1) of the Act provides that every person who is incarcerated and who is otherwise qualified to vote under the Act is entitled to vote under that Division on the 10th day before polling day;
WHEREAS on the day of the vote of incarcerated electors pursuant to the Act, a lock-up of prisoners was ordered at 7:15 pm at the Établissement de detention Rivière-des-Prairies for security reasons;
WHEREAS at the time the decision was made to order the lock-up of prisoners, some 75 incarcerated electors who had registered to vote had not yet voted;
WHEREAS the Act does not contain another mechanism to allow these electors to vote and an order to lock up prisoners is an unusual and unforeseen circumstance;
AND WHEREAS subsection 17(1) of the Canada Elections Act prescribes 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, section 245 of the Canada Elections Act is hereby adapted by adding the following subsection (1.1) immediately after subsection (1):
245. (1.1) If the special voting rules administrator ascertains that electors who had registered to vote on the day provided at subsection (1) were unable to do so because of a decision by the correctional institution to lock up prisoners, the special voting rules administrator may, with the prior approval of the Chief Electoral Officer, set another day and time when these electors can vote.
October 5, 2008
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada