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Independent audit report on the performance of the duties and functions of Election Officers – By-election May 6, 2019

4 Findings – Major and Other Observations

Our audit findings and conclusions are presented on an aggregate level. Our results do not identify any specific polling site, polling station or election officer. Our key findings and other observations are described below.

4.1 Performance of the duties and functions of election officers

A Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years of age on election day may vote in the ED in which they reside. The CEA provides procedural safeguards designed to protect the integrity of the electoral process, one of which requires electors to prove eligibility (identity and residence) before receiving a ballot. For most electors who are already registered at their current address and therefore included on the List of Electors, election day procedures involve a simple, efficient check of one or more pieces of acceptable identification to confirm identity and address of residence. Based on electoral activity during our periods of observation, approximately 99% of electors voted in this manner in this by-election on an aggregate basis. The remaining 1% of electors required special administrative procedures prior to being issued a ballot and exercising their right to vote. The electors who required special procedures were electors who needed to register (Registration Certificate) or electors who required a minor correction to their electoral information on the List of Electors (Correction Form).

4.2 Major findings

4.2.1 No major findings resulting from deviations in key controls and procedures for electors served during period of observation

Our testing did not identify any major findings from deviations in key controls and procedures for electors served during our periods of observation at advance and ordinary polls. For our sample, the election officers generally obtained and determined the appropriateness of identification provided by the elector, confirmed that the individual was at the correct polling station and on the List of Electors, confirmed that the individual had not previously voted, and struck the elector’s name off the List of Electors.

4.3 Other observations

For key controls, a deviation of 2%–4.9% was considered an other observation. For secondary controls, a deviation of 11% or more was considered an other observation.

4.3.1 It was observed that election officers did not consistently mark an elector as voted at the appropriate point in the process

Section 162 of the CEA stipulates that the PC must indicate that the elector has voted. This allows for effective reconciliation of the ballots. This is evidenced by a check mark in the box next to the name of the elector on the List of Electors or the Record of Entries (for those electors not on the List of Electors). The CEA prescribes that this duty must be performed as soon as the elector’s ballot has been deposited in the ballot box. This duty is in addition to having to cross off the elector’s name when the elector appears on the List of Electors.

Our audit identified instances, above our reporting threshold for a secondary control, where the PC did not mark the elector as having voted as soon as the elector’s ballot was deposited in the ballot box. In some cases, the PC marked the elector as having voted before the elector cast their ballot while, in others, the PC marked the elector as having voted well after the elector had cast their ballot and left.

If electors are marked off as having voted prior to ballots being issued or well after an elector has left the polling site, the lack of real time monitoring results in the inability to confirm whether the elector did in fact cast their ballot.

4.4 Assessment of administrative controls established by EC

Based on our discussions with EC during the planning phase of the engagement, it was confirmed that there were no significant changes to the overall design and delivery of the training program, including training and support materials (e.g. guidebooks), since the previous (February 25, 2019) by-elections. Accordingly, we relied on our assessment of administrative controls in relation to the audit we conducted for the December 3, 2018 by-election held in Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes as a basis for forming our conclusion.

For the May 6, 2019 by-election, 796 resources were recruited and trained to work at advance and ordinary polls. This pool of resources included a redundancy factor to allow flexibility for those who dropped out in advance or did not show on the day of voting.

To equip the temporary workforce hired to successfully serve electors, a formal training program was in place and delivered to each election officer in advance of taking on their responsibilities. The majority of election officers for this by-election had previous experience in the general election and/or previous by-elections. Overall, feedback from election officers on the content of the training program and the format of how the training was delivered was positive. Further, they found the availability of the guidebooks and other aids useful in assuming their responsibilities and troubleshooting when they were unsure of how to proceed. Overall, it has been established that EC’s training program is comprehensive and is effective for providing prescriptive guidance and support to the temporary workforce that is hired to work during by-elections.

Based on the results of our audit, we are not proposing any new recommendations to the training program, curriculum and other tools and guidance to support election officials. PwC issued three (3) independent audit reports on the performance of the duties and functions of election officials whereby recommendations were made to the training program; including the 2015 general election; the 2016 by-election held in Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner and the 2018 by-election in Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. Readers may refer to those reports for a list of recommendations stemming from the previous audits.