Supplementary Recommendations on Division 2 of Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act and Recommendations for Consequential Amendments
Our file: 100-3-11
June 5, 2017
The Honourable Larry Bagnell, P.C., M.P.
Chair, Standing Committee on
Procedure and House Affairs
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Bagnell:
The former Chief Electoral Officer, in his report entitled An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 42nd General Election, recommended that Division 2 of Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act (the CEA) be reviewed, in consultation with the Canadian Armed Forces, to determine the best way to facilitate voting by Canadian Forces electors (CF electors). In your committee's first Interim Report in Response to the Chief Electoral Officer's Recommendations for Legislative Reforms Following the 42nd General Election, tabled on March 6, 2017, your committee endorsed the principle of reviewing Division 2, and asked Elections Canada to return to the committee with specific recommendations.
Unlike most other electors, who have a range of voting options, CF electors are, for the most part, limited to voting at the military polls. The only exception is if the address where the CF elector actually resides is in the same electoral district as the place of ordinary residence set out on his or her statement of ordinary residence, in which case the CF elector may vote at the polling station for that place. However, a change made during an election period to a CF elector's statement of ordinary residence cannot come into force during that period. This means that CF electors, even those who are part of the community in which they reside, are sometimes not able to vote in that community like their family and neighbours.
These factors have turned Division 2 from a method of voting that originally benefitted CF electors to a method of voting that is much more restrictive than that for non–CF electors. For this reason, the former Chief Electoral Officer was interested in facilitating voting by CF electors by permitting them to choose the voting method—including at the advance or election day polls, or under Division 3 or 4 of the special voting rules in Part 11 of the CEA—that best suits their needs, like all other electors, while at the same time preserving the integrity of the vote. This was the driving force of the review undertaken by Elections Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.
Our two organizations have now completed our joint review of the provisions of Division 2 and have prepared a package of recommendations for amendments to the special voting rules and consequential changes to other parts of the CEA. In addition to expanding voting opportunities for CF electors, these recommendations are intended to, among other things:
- add new voting integrity controls, required because CF electors would be allowed to choose among different voting options;
- facilitate the sharing of CF electors' information between Elections Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, including authorizing the electronic transfer of data;
- rationalize the provisions of Division 2 with earlier recommendations relating to the special voting rules and other parts of the CEA; and
- repeal historical legislative artefacts related to voting by CF electors.
I am pleased to provide you with a copy of the package of recommendations respecting voting by CF electors.
Acting Chief Electoral Officer
cc.: Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre
Chief Military Personnel
and Commander, Military Personnel Command
Canadian Armed Forces
Colonel Vihar Joshi
Deputy Judge Advocate General, Administrative Law
and Coordinating Officer
Canadian Armed Forces
Mr. Andrew Lauzon
Clerk of the Committee