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Guidelines for Candidates' Representatives

This document is Elections Canada's guideline OGI 2019-05.

Introduction

You have been chosen as a candidate's representative for this federal election. These guidelines have been prepared to help you perform your duties in accordance with applicable rules.

The following is provided for your guidance. The final authority is the Canada Elections Act. At a polling place, the central poll supervisor or the deputy returning officer has the final say for its application.

The primary role of election officers is to serve electors as they come to vote. Your role is to observe the election proceedings and provide the level of scrutiny necessary to a fair and transparent voting process.

We suggest that you vote at your advance poll or by special ballot if your duties will make it impossible for you to vote on election day at the polling station where you are legally entitled to vote.

Authorization of a Candidate's Representative

The Authorization of a Candidate's Representative (EC 20020) form authorizes you to act as a candidate's representative in an electoral district for this federal election. Speak with your candidate or official agent to obtain the authorization form.

Before you can be admitted to the polling station, you must present the form signed by your candidate or official agent. The original form or a photocopy of the form will be accepted; a digital copy cannot be accepted. The central poll supervisor will verify that the top section of the form has been duly completed, and you will be required to make a solemn declaration. The central poll supervisor will provide you with a Candidate's Representative Identification Badge (EC 20901) inside a Clear Plastic Badge Holder (EC 20909). You must not add or write anything on the badge.

You may visit any polling place in the same electoral district at any time during voting for this federal election without being required to make another solemn declaration, as long as you present a valid Candidate's Representative Identification Badge (EC 20901).

Responsibilities at the Polling Place

As a candidate's representative, you MUST:

  • aid in maintaining the secrecy of the vote;
  • respect the right of electors to an accessible voting process;
  • display the Candidate's Representative Identification Badge (EC 20901) when acting in the capacity of a candidate's representative; and
  • respect the decisions of the central poll supervisor or the deputy returning officer; these decisions will prevail unless overruled later by the returning officer or a judge.

As a candidate's representative, you MAY:

  • for this federal election, visit any polling place in the same electoral district during voting without being required to make another solemn declaration, as long as you present a valid Candidate's Representative Identification Badge (EC 20901);
  • at least 15 minutes before the polls open and as long as it does not impede the opening of the polls, ask to have the ballots counted, witness election officers initialing the back of the ballots, and ask to inspect the ballots, the ballot box, or any other material related to the vote;
  • sign any seals placed on the envelopes and ballot boxes containing the ballots and other election material;
  • take note of the serial numbers on seals for the secure bag or ballot boxes and verify them against the seal control sheet;
  • request to examine, but not handle, an elector's identification when the deputy returning officer is verifying proof of identity and address—electors may vote even if they refuse to allow you to examine their identification, and election officers will keep a record of such situations;
  • during voting hours, examine the list of electors with the deputy returning officer, provided it does not interfere with the voting process;
  • request, through the deputy returning officer, that an elector repeat their name and address;
  • request, through the deputy returning officer, that an elector make a solemn declaration, if you have reasonable doubt about the elector's qualification (age and citizenship) or residence in
    the electoral district (if the elector has shown a piece of ID that only contains their mailing address);
  • take a picture of the Sequence Number Sheet – Advance Polls (EC 50109) with your mobile device after the close of advance polls; and
  • retrieve one copy of the Sequence Number Sheet (EC 50111) (bingo sheets) on an hourly basis for any polling station on election day.

As a candidate's representative, you MAY NOT:

  • interfere with the voting process, at the risk of being removed from the polling place;
  • attempt to obtain information about how any elector is going to vote or has voted, or attempt to influence an elector's choice of candidate;
  • systematically challenge electors' qualification to vote;
  • handle an elector's identification;
  • require an elector to show proof of identity and address once a ballot has been issued;
  • take any photographs or make any audio or video recordings at the polling place—the one exception is that the Chief Electoral Officer allows you to take a photograph of the Sequence Number Sheet – Advance Polls (EC 50109) using a mobile device when the advance polls have closed, for the sole purpose of sharing a copy of the record with you;
  • sit at the same table as the deputy returning officer and poll clerk or the registration officer;
  • enter the polling place after the doors have been closed and the count is underway, or re-enter the polling place if you leave after the count has started;
  • handle any ballots during the count;
  • display partisan symbols or material at the polling place (ask the central poll supervisor or the deputy returning officer what parts of the building this applies to);
  • display campaign literature or other material that could be taken as an indication of support for or opposition to the election of a candidate or political party; and
  • use or wear colours or emblems that would identify your candidate or party.
Number of Candidates' Representatives Permitted (per candidate)
Advance, Mobile and Ordinary Polls 2 per polling station
Polls at Long-term Care Facilities 2 per polling station (only 1 representative when going room to room)
Registration Desks 1 per registration desk

Voting Procedures

Voting at the Advance Poll

The poll clerk records the required information about electors, and declarations taken, on the Record of Electors (EC 50080). The poll clerk draws a line through the names of electors on the list as they come in to vote. After an elector's ballot is placed in the ballot box, the election officer ticks (✓) the Voted box next to their name on the List of Electors or List of Entries. The poll clerk will also complete the Sequence Number Sheet – Advance Polls (EC 50109), indicating the elector's polling division and sequence number.

The poll clerk records anything unusual that happens at the polling station in the Log of Notable Events section of the Events Log (EC 50060).

Please note that an elector who is not on the revised list of electors may register to vote at their advance poll.

After closing the poll, the poll clerk provides the returning officer with the Sequence Number Sheet – Advance Polls (EC 50109). This document excludes electors who registered at the advance poll. At the close of polls, you are permitted to take a photograph of the document using a mobile device. This permission is an exception to the general rule that photography is not permitted in the polling place. It applies only when the advance polls have closed, and for the purpose of sharing a copy of the document with you. Otherwise, a copy will be available from the returning officer the next day or through the Political Entities Service Centre (PESC).

Voting on Election Day

The official list of electors contains the names of electors who registered before election day. The poll clerk draws a line through the names of electors as they come in to vote. Once an elector's ballot is placed in the ballot box, the poll clerk ticks (✓) the Voted box.

The poll clerk records anything unusual that happens at the polling station in the Log of Notable Events section of the Events Log (EC 50060).

Please note that an elector who is not on the official list of electors may register to vote at their poll.

The poll clerk tracks electors who voted on election day using the Sequence Number Sheet (EC 50111). This document excludes electors who registered at the polling place. Copies are available to you, on request, once an hour throughout the day. Speak with the information officer at the polling place for instructions on how to collect the Sequence Number Sheet.

Elector's Name Already Crossed Off the List

Electors can be struck off the list because they requested a special ballot (indicated by an "S" in the margin) or voted at an advance poll (indicated by an "X" in the margin), but they may also have been struck off by mistake. Electors whose names have already been struck off the list when they arrive at the polling station are not allowed to vote there, unless they make a solemn declaration stating that they have not previously voted or requested a special ballot in the election.

Placing the Ballot in the Ballot Box

When an elector returns with their ballot, the deputy returning officer verifies that the ballot is the same one issued and removes the numbered counterfoil. The ballot is returned to the elector so they can place it in the ballot box. They may ask the deputy returning officer to deposit the ballot for them.

Counting of the Ballots

Closing the Polling Place

At the time set for closing a polling place, any electors already in line will be served before the counting can start. No elector arriving after the time set for closing may vote even if others are voting when they arrive.

Counting the Ballots

Along with election officers, candidates and candidates' representatives may be present when ballots are counted at a polling station. You must arrive before the counting begins if you wish to observe the process, and it is suggested that you arrive at least 15 minutes in advance.

Only deputy returning officers may handle the ballots, but everyone present will be shown how each is marked. After the ballots are counted, the poll clerk records the results on the Statement of the Vote (EC 50100).

You may object to the validity of any ballot and have the objection recorded in the Log of Objections to Ballots in the Events Log (EC 50060).The final decision rests exclusively with the deputy returning officer at each polling station. Each time a ballot is objected to, an objection number will be assigned and the number will be marked on the ballot by an election officer.

You are encouraged to observe the counts throughout the polling place, especially if there are only a few representatives at each count. You may witness the process and sign seals at multiple counts.

After the count, you may print and sign your name on any envelope seal and on the Statement of the Vote (EC 50100). Upon request, you will receive a Copy of Results for Candidates (EC 50110).

Additional Information

If you have questions about your role, please contact the returning officer for the electoral district in which you will be working. You may also contact Elections Canada at the coordinates below:

elections.ca

Phone: 1-800-463-6868 or 613-993-2975
Fax: 1-888-524-1444
Email form

30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M6

EC 20045
(05/2019)