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Official Voting Results Following the May 24, 2005 By-election Held in Labrador

The May 24, 2005, by-election in Labrador


This section of the Chief Electoral Officer's report on the federal by-election held May 24, 2005, describes the circumstances leading to the call for a by-election, the electoral district involved, the candidates, the numbers of registered electors and polling stations, and the results.

The following section presents further information and summary data on the official voting results, in the form of tables. The concluding section gives the poll-by-poll results for the by-election.

Information on the administration of the May 24, 2005, by-election and any other by-election that may take place in 2005 will appear in a report to be published in March 2006:

  • Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 2005 By-election(s)

The report will be available at

Calling the by-election

On December 16, 2004, Lawrence David O'Brien, the Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Labrador since March 25, 1996, passed away, leaving his seat in the House of Commons vacant. A writ ordering a by-election in Labrador was accordingly issued on April 17, 2005.

Under subsection 57(3) of the Canada Elections Act, federal elections are always held on a Monday, unless the Monday of that week is a holiday. In such cases, subsection 57(4) of the Act directs that election day will be the Tuesday of that week. Since Monday, May 23, 2005, was a holiday, election day for the by-election in Labrador was on Tuesday, May 24, 2005.

At that time, the seat distribution in the House of Commons was: Liberal Party of Canada ? 132 seats; Conservative Party of Canada ? 99 seats; Bloc Québécois ? 54 seats; New Democratic Party ? 19 seats; Independent ? 3 seats; and vacant ? 1 seat.

The electoral district

The boundaries of the electoral district of Labrador were the same as those in effect during the 2004 federal general election. They coincide with the boundaries defined in the Representation Order of 2003, issued in accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

Table 1 – Returning officer
Electoral district Name Occupation Place of residence
Labrador Barbara Roberts Manager Labrador City

Labrador (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Population based on the 2001 Census: 27,864

Map of the electoral district of Labrador

Registered political parties and nomination of candidates

From the date the returning officer, Ms. Barbara Roberts, published the Notice of Election, the candidates in the by-election had until 2:00 p.m. on May 2, 2005, to file their nomination papers. In Labrador, four registered parties nominated candidates: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party. One candidate ran as an independent. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which a withdrawal of candidacy was permitted.

Registration of electors

There were 19,571 names on the preliminary lists of electors for the May 24, 2005, by-election. The lists were produced from information in the National Register of Electors. During the revision period, which extended from April 20 until May 17, 2005, 728 electors were registered, including those who were already on the lists but had their address changed.

The names recorded on the final lists of electors (that is, the lists prepared after election day) numbered 19,876.

These lists included the names of 755 electors who registered on election day, some of whom had their address changed.

Polling stations

The Canada Elections Act, section 131, sets 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. as the hours of voting for by-elections. The ordinary polling stations were accordingly open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Atlantic Time, on election day in Labrador.

The returning officer set up 66 ordinary polling stations, 65 of which were stationary.

The Act provides for the establishment of mobile polling stations to collect the votes of seniors or persons with disabilities confined to institutions. These polling stations, set up in polling divisions with more than two institutions, travel from institution to institution, and remain open at each place only as long as necessary to enable the electors present to vote. In the May 24, 2005, by-election, one mobile polling station collected the ballots of electors.

The returning officer in the electoral district is required to set up advance polling stations to collect the votes of electors who do not wish to go to their ordinary polling stations on election day. The electoral district of Labrador had 17 advance polling stations, all of which were open from noon to 8:00 p.m. (local time), on May 13, 14 and 16, 2005.

Polling results

A total of 10,622 electors cast a ballot in the by-election, a participation rate of 53.4%. Of these electors, 9,796 (or 92.2%) voted on election day at their ordinary polling stations.

Table 2 – Number of electors who voted, by voting method
Voting method Labrador
No. %
Ordinary polling stations 9,796 92.2
Advance polling stations 589 5.5
Special Voting Rules ? Group 1* 33 0.3
Special Voting Rules ? Group 2** 204 1.9
Total 10,622


*   Includes Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada, members of the Canadian Forces and incarcerated electors regardless of the length of their sentences.
**  Includes Canadian citizens residing in Canada who voted by special ballot in or outside their electoral district.
*** Due to rounding, figures do not add up to total shown.

Candidate elected

In the May 24, 2005, by-election in Labrador, the Liberal Party of Canada candidate, Todd Norman Russell, was declared elected once the validation of results was completed.

Following the by-election of May 24, 2005, the distribution of seats in the House of Commons was:

Liberal Party of Canada 134
Conservative Party of Canada 98
Bloc Québécois 54
New Democratic Party 19
Independent 3
Total 308

Special adaptations

The Chief Electoral Officer may adapt the Canada Elections Act under subsections 17(1) and 178(2). During the 2005 Labrador by-election, he used these authorities on two occasions.

On election night, it was noted that the transmission of the preliminary poll-by-poll results could have jeopardized the secrecy of the vote for certain advance polling stations. Therefore, in order to preserve the secrecy of the vote, subsection 168(4) of the Canada Elections Act was adapted to allow the returning officer to combine the results of two or more advance polling districts.

Due to an unexplained delay, special ballot kits arrived at the Labrador Correctional Centre on election day. Consequently, through no fault of their own, 11 incarcerated electors were unable to ensure that the Special Voting Rules Administrator in Ottawa received their ballots by the statutory deadline. Division 1 of the Special Voting Rules as Adapted for the Purposes of a By-election was adapted to appoint a Special Voting Rules Administrator and additional special ballot officers in Labrador to take, receive, sort, count and report the votes of incarcerated electors who were eligible to vote under the Special Voting Rules.