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Canada at the Polls!

8. Appendix

Special Cases: Situation Cards and Notes

Situation Cards

Image of four situation cards.

Note: Photocopy these cards, cut them out and distribute them to four participants.

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Explanatory Notes for Special Cases

The following explanatory notes pertain to the situation cards distributed discreetly to four electors. Each card describes a special case that will have to be dealt with at the polling station.

  1. A voter with a visual impairment – An elector is asked to tell the deputy returning officer that he has a visual impairment. The deputy returning officer will provide a voting template and follow the instructions written on it.
    Purpose: to show that visually impaired persons can vote in secret just like other voters.

  2. Spoiled ballot – An elector is asked to spoil a ballot accidentally by tearing it. He asks for another one from the deputy returning officer. The deputy returning officer writes "spoiled" on the torn ballot and keeps it in a separate place. A new ballot is given to the elector and voting proceeds normally.
    Purpose: to show that voting is easy, but if you make a mistake you can get a new ballot.

  3. Elector who requires assistance – An elector is asked to come to the polling station and tell the deputy returning officer that he requires the help of a relative or friend who is voting at the same polling station. The deputy returning officer administers an oath to the relative or friend. The relative or friend goes to the voting screen with the elector and marks the elector's choice on the ballot.
    Purpose: to show that all electors can vote.

  4. Name not on the voters list, or polling day registration – An elector is asked to give a name that does not appear on the list. The poll clerk checks the list and informs the deputy returning officer that the name is not on it. The voter asks to have his name added to the list. The deputy returning officer asks the voter to produce one piece of identification bearing his name, address and signature, or two pieces of identification meeting the same requirements. Once the voter has done so, he will complete a registration certificate and be added to the list and will receive a registration certificate. If the student does not have acceptable ID, he may ask another student to vouch for him. In this case, both students must take an oath and the student vouching must present ID.
    Purpose: to show that electors' names must appear on the voters list before they may vote; to show also that voters can register on election day if their names are not on the list.


Oaths of Office

Here are the oaths sworn by the deputy returning officer, the poll clerk, candidate's representative and interpreter when they assume their respective duties. The returning officer administers the oath to the deputy returning officer, who then administers the oath to the others.

  1. Oath of deputy returning officer (administered by the returning officer) and of the poll clerk (administered by the deputy returning officer)

    I solemnly affirm that:

    –   I have reached voting age;
    –   I live in the riding of _______________ (give the name of the school);
    –   I will act faithfully without partiality, fear, favour or affection and in every respect according to the law;
    –   at the polling station, I will maintain the secrecy of the vote.

  2. Oath for candidates' representatives authorized to be in attendance at the polling station (administered by the deputy returning officer)

    I solemnly affirm that:

    –   I will maintain the secrecy of the vote;
    –   I will not interfere with the marking of a ballot by any voter nor ask any voter how he or she is about to vote or has voted;
    –   I will not induce a voter to show a marked ballot to any person.

  3. Oath for the interpreter appointed by the returning officer to assist at a polling station on election day (administered by the deputy returning officer)

    Do you solemnly affirm that:

    –   you will maintain the secrecy of the vote;
    –   you will act faithfully as interpreter without partiality, favour or affection, as required by the law and under the direction of the returning officer or deputy returning officer?

Note: The poll book is kept by the poll clerk under the direction of the deputy returning officer. The Canada Elections Act requires that an accurate record of the proceedings throughout polling day is kept. Only exceptional voting procedures are recorded in the poll book.

Oral Oaths and Notes for Special Cases

The deputy returning officer can administer the following oaths orally, without any signatures. Electors can take an oath by swearing on the Bible, or by making a solemn statement, without using the Bible. In the first case, the elector must respond to the deputy returning officer: “So help me God,” and in the second case, “I so affirm.”

Any oath taken or refused should be noted in the poll book. Anyone refusing to swear an oath cannot receive a ballot or vote. The texts of the oaths for special cases appear in the poll book. The following oaths are taken from the poll book and are authentic.


Follow the instructions written on the template, which can be ordered separately.

Special Case B

If a ballot is accidentally torn or marked incorrectly, the voter can ask the deputy returning officer for another one. The deputy returning officer writes “spoiled” on it and keeps it separately with the other spoiled ballots and gives a new ballot to the voter. If a ballot is marked incorrectly and deposited in the ballot box, it would be “rejected” when the ballots are counted.

Oaths for Special Case c

(For a friend or relative who will mark the ballot paper for an elector who requires assistance)

For a relative of the elector:

You swear or solemnly affirm that:

–   you will mark the ballot paper as directed by your relative;
–   you will not disclose the name of the candidate for whom the elector voted;
–   you will not try to influence your relative in making a choice.

For a friend of the elector:

You swear or solemnly affirm that:

–   you will mark the ballot paper as directed by the elector;
–   you will not disclose the name of the candidate for whom the elector voted;
–   you will not try to influence the elector in making a choice;
–   you have not already assisted another person, as a friend, to mark a ballot at this electoral event.

Oath for Special Case D (Modified for Student Voting)

Oath of unregistered elector accompanied by another elector vouching for him:

You swear or solemnly affirm that:

–   you are (name) of (address) whose name is not registered on the voters list;
–   you are a student at (name of school);
–   you have not already voted and will not attempt to vote again at this election.

Oath for a registered elector vouching for an unregistered elector:

You swear or solemnly affirm that:

–   you are (name) of (address) named or intended to be named on the voters list now shown to you;
–   you know (name) of (address) whose name does not appear on the voters list and who accompanies you;
–   you and the person you are vouching for are both students at (name of school);
–   you verily believe this person to be a duly qualified elector at this election.

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Sample Ballot Papers

  1. Type in the candidates' names and political affiliations (as in the model below).
    Family names must be in alphabetical order.

  2. Reproduce the required number of ballots for your group.

  3. Cut carefully around the edge of the actual ballot so that it fits into the template for voters with a visual impairment.

  4. Fold the ballot according to the instructions.

Note: The sample below was developed for a history class.

Image of a sample ballot with candidates' names and political affiliations.


Sample Blank Ballot Papers for Three and Four Candidates

Image of a sample blank ballot for three and four candidates.


Sample blank ballot paper
for six candidates

Image of a sample blank ballot for six candidates.


Election Countdown

(sample of teacher-generated material)

Image of a sample of teacher-generated material for an election countdown.


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Voters List

List the names of all participants in the simulation to ensure all are eligible to vote. Those playing the roles of candidates, deputy returning officer and poll clerk have the right to vote. Note that in a federal election, both names and addresses of electors are required. (Photocopy and add pages as needed.)

Sample image of a voters list prepared for use at the election simulation of Canada at the Polls with name, electoral district, name of school or organization, municipality and polling division number.


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Tally Sheet

To be used by the poll clerk in the presence of those persons authorized to be present at the counting of the votes.

  1. Write names of candidates at top of columns in the same order as on ballot.
  2. When the deputy returning officer unfolds a ballot and reveals for which candidate it is marked, make a cross or other mark in a square in that candidate's column.

Image of a sample tally sheet to aid in counting the votes.


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Official Statement of Votes

To be completed by the deputy returning officer after the ballots are counted

This sample image of an official statement of votes provides polling station name and/or number, date, name of candidates, number of votes, ballots received, valid votes cast, rejected votes, total votes cast, spoiled ballots and unused ballots. The grand total of valid votes cast, rejected votes, spoiled ballots and unused ballots will be provided.


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Samples of Marked Ballot Papers

Image provides samples of marked ballot papers - valid, rejected, spoiled and unused.


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Evaluation of the Canada at the Polls! Kit

We would appreciate your help in improving this election simulation kit. Please answer the following questionnaire and return it to the address below. If you wish to contribute to a future edition of the kit, please don't hesitate to send us your material.
Thank you!

Outreach Directorate
Elections Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6
1-800-463-6868 (TTY 1-800-361-8935)

1.  Did you conduct this election simulation as (circle the answer that best describes your situation):

  1. a classroom teacher (state level) _______________________________________________
  2. student council advisor _______________________________________________________
  3. the leader of a youth group (specify: Scouts, cadets, etc.) ____________________________
  4. other (specify) ______________________________________________________________

2.  On average, how old were the participants in the group? _______________________________

3.  Did you use the kit (circle all answers that apply to you):

  1. at the elementary school level
  2. at the secondary school level
  3. with a community group
  4. to elect a student council

4.  Was the simulation easy to adapt to the needs and maturity of your group?

5.  Do you think the members of your group enjoyed the activity?

6.  Is there anything the group did not enjoy in the election simulation?

7.  Do you think the simulation helped the members of your group understand the following concepts?

  1. the act of voting                                           Yes ____      No ____
  2. freedom of choice                                        Yes ____      No ____
  3. secrecy of the vote                                      Yes ____      No ____
  4. willingness to abide by majority decision      Yes ____      No ____

8.  sing a scale ranging from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), please rate the following material included in the kit:

  1. Instructions                                   1      2      3      4      5
  2. Ballots                                           1      2      3      4      5
  3. Supplementary activities               1      2      3      4      5

9.  If you have any comments or suggestions pertaining to the kit, please note them here.

10.  Your name and address (optional):

Thank you once again for taking the time to help us improve this learning tool.


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Order Form

To help make your election simulation more realistic, you may order the following materials:

Item number Item Quantity
EC 05000 Ballot box  
EC 99606 Short seals (4 per box)  
EC 99607 Long seals (2 per box)  
EC 00140 Voting screen  
EC 50170 Template (special case A)  

Name: ___________________________________________________________________________

Title: ____________________________________________________________________________

School: __________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: __________________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________

Municipality: ______________________________________________________________________

Province: ________________________________________________________________________

Postal code: _____________________________________________________________________

Telephone: (        ) ________________________________________________________________

Fax: (        ) ______________________________________________________________________

Order online: (click on "I am a teacher" at the bottom of the homepage)

Please send your order by mail, telephone or fax to:

Elections Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M6

Telephone: 1-800-463-6868

For people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
TTY 1-800-361-8935

Fax: 819-939-1802 or 1-888-524-1444

Please photocopy any material included in this kit, rather than ordering extra copies.

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