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Survey of Election Officers Following te 42nd Federal General Election

Executive Summary

Overall Satisfaction

Overall, 90% of election officers reported being satisfied with how the election went at their polling centre – this represents a three percentage point (3%) decrease from 2011 (93%). Officers in Manitoba (n=154) experienced an eleven percentage point decrease in satisfaction from 2011 (98%) to 2015 (87%) after experiencing a fourteen percentage point increase from 2008 (84%) to 2011 (98%).

Officers who worked at an ordinary (91%) or mobile poll (92%) were significantly more likely to be satisfied than those who worked at an advance poll (82%) or both advance and ordinary polls (84%).

Unchanged from 2011, information officers were more likely to be satisfied (94%) than other staffing positions. Information officers were also significantly more likely to indicate being "very satisfied" (60%), a four percentage point decrease from 2011 (64%) and a one percentage point increase from 2008 (59%).

Hourly Rate of Pay

Satisfaction with the hourly rate of pay has remained stable since the 41st general election. Just over four-fifths (81%) of election officers were satisfied with their hourly rate of pay. Officers who worked in Quebec experienced a five point (5%) increase in satisfaction from 2011 to 2015, after experiencing a nine point (9%) decrease from 2008 to 2011. Although officers in the Territories show the least satisfaction (69%) with their hourly rate, satisfaction in that region has been increasing at a rate of 10% per election analysis period.Footnote 1

Election Materials

The majority (89%) of election officers were satisfied with the election materials provided to them, which is similar to 2011 (90%). Overall, the top reasons for not being satisfied were the guidebook (26%), flowchart (14%), and insufficient or poor training (12%). Issues with materials provided remains unchanged since 2011, still ranking in the top three reasons in 2015.

There were significant differences across regions:

  • Officers who worked in the Atlantic Provinces were more likely to have issues with the guidebook (47% vs. 26% overall).
  • Officers who worked in Saskatchewan were more likely to indicate poor training (26% vs. 12% overall).
  • Officers who worked in Quebec were more likely to find that there was too much material (16% vs. 9% overall).

Suitability of the Building

Over four-fifths (87%) of election officers found their building was suitable for holding an election, similar to the levels they were at in 2011 (89%) and 2008 (86%).

Regionally, satisfaction levels have stayed stable in the Atlantic Provinces, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia. Officers who worked in Manitoba have decreased in satisfaction between 2008 (96%) and the two most recent elections (2011: 88%; 2015:89%), while officers who worked in Alberta have increased in satisfaction between 2008 (77%) and the two most recent elections (2011:91%; 2015:91%Footnote 2)

When asked why the building wasn't suitable, most officers found that there was not enough room (36%) or the building was too cold or there was poor heating (29%). Officers who worked in the Atlantic (29%), British Columbia (28%) and Manitoba (20%) were more likely to report that their building was "not accessible for people with disabilities."

Providing Services to Electors with Disabilities

Questions about the services being provided to electors with disabilities were integrated into the 2015 Survey of Election Officers. Overall, the majority of officers (92%) said that they were prepared to provide services to electors with disabilities and they (91%) found the tools and services for electors with disabilities suitable.

Regionally, officers who worked in Quebec were less likely to report being prepared (86%). Further, they were also least likely to indicate the tools and services for electors with disabilities were suitable (88%) compared with the other regions.

Training

Overall preparedness and satisfaction with training was high during the 42nd general election. The majority (96%) of election officers felt very or somewhat prepared to undertake their tasks, a seven point (7%) increase from 2011.

Just over four-fifths (84%) of officers were satisfied with the training session provided, which is similar to 2008 (83%). The top improvements suggested by officers include better training (41%), more time (23% vs. 12% in 2011), and more information (20% vs. 12% in 2011).

Vote Proceedings, Voter ID, and Problems

The majority (93%) stated that the flow of electors went very or fairly well in the 42nd general election.

On a 1-10 scale, where 1 was "not a problem at all" and 10 was "a widespread problem," election officers ranked "completing the required procedures at the polls was a source of delay for the voting process" a 3.0, reflecting the smooth process of the flow of electors. In addition, almost all (97%) officers found that the identification of electors went well, remaining stable from 2011 (96%). Further, a similar proportion reported that they were well prepared to apply voter identification requirements (97%).

Just over nine in ten (91%) election officers reported that electors were very or somewhat well prepared about the voter ID requirements, remaining stable from 2011 (88%).

Most deputy returning officers and registration officers said that they did not experience any problems with verifying the addresses (80%) or the identity (89%) of electors. Of the officers who faced problems during the voter identification process, most reported that the address of the elector did not match the list of electors (44%) or that the elector did not have the correct ID (37%).

Closing of the Polling Station

Over four-fifths (84%) of election officers found that closing the polling station went well. Among those who felt that closing the polling station did not go well, most reported that it took too long or was too slow (24%), that the staff was not well trained (22%), that the instructions were not clear (21%), or that there were problems with vote counting (20%).

Overall, almost all (93%) deputy returning officers, central poll supervisors, and poll clerks found the flowchart to be very or somewhat useful. Deputy returning officers were significantly more likely to find the flowcharts "very useful" (64%) than did poll clerks (54%).

Improvements for Future Elections

Election officers who made suggestions emphasized better training (17%) as the top reason, a four point increase from 2011, followed by less paperwork (8%), and having breaks (6%). Overall, just under a tenth (8%) of election officers would not change anything to make it easier for them to do their jobs during the election work period.


Footnote 1 As satisfaction increased by election period, so did the sample of respondents in the Territories: 2015 (n=115), 2011 (n=28), 2008 (n=8). Due to the low sample sizes in 2011 and 2008, these results should be interpreted with caution.

Footnote 2 2015 results for Alberta should be interpreted with caution due to the low sample size (n=39).