Administrative Review of Procedures for the Tracking and Handling of Shipments Containing Special Ballots at Elections Canada's Distribution Centre in Ottawa
A. Distribution of Special Ballots Across 139 Electoral Districts
|Electoral district number||Electoral district name||Ballots not counted||Candidate in first position||Candidate in second position||Difference|
|10005||Long Range Mountains||1||Liberal||Conservative||25,804|
|10006||St. John's East||1||Liberal||NDP||646|
|12009||South Shore–St. Margarets||1||Liberal||Conservative||18,140|
|13008||New Brunswick Southwest||1||Liberal||Conservative||2,031|
|35006||Bay of Quinte||2||Liberal||Conservative||9,500|
|35039||Hastings–Lennox and Addington||1||Liberal||Conservative||225|
|35044||Kingston and the Islands||3||Liberal||Conservative||21,493|
|35050||Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes||1||Conservative||Liberal||3,850|
|35052||London North Centre||2||Liberal||Conservative||12,437|
|47005||Moose Jaw–Lake Centre–Lanigan||1||Conservative||NDP||13,295|
|48010||Calgary Rocky Ridge||2||Conservative||Liberal||18,191|
|48012||Calgary Signal Hill||2||Conservative||Liberal||18,750|
|48023||Fort McMurray–Cold Lake||2||Conservative||Liberal||15,222|
|48029||Red Deer–Mountain View||1||Conservative||Liberal||37,889|
|48032||Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan||1||Conservative||Liberal||29,027|
|59027||Saanich–Gulf Islands||4||Green Party||Conservative||23,810|
|59029||South Okanagan–West Kootenay||2||NDP||Conservative||4,952|
|59037||North Island–Powell River||1||NDP||Conservative||8,500|
|59042||West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country||1||Liberal||Conservative||18,889|
* A judicial recount took place in Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte, where the recount confirmed the winner by 86 votes.
B. Request for an Administrative Review
Le directeur général des élections • The Chief Electoral Officer
October 28, 2016
Associate Chief Electoral Officer
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer
Electoral Events Sector
My report on the 42nd general election of October 19, 2015 discusses 291 special ballots that Elections Canada received from the Canadian Forces after the expiry of the time limit specified in the Canada Elections Act (the Act) and that, as a result, were not counted. On October 24, 2016, I was informed that 247 of those ballots had been received within the time limit specified in the Act, i.e., before 6:00 p.m. (ET) on election day. However, owing to a handling error, they were not forwarded to the Special Voting Rules Administrator upon receipt. It was not until October 29,2015, ten days after receipt, that the mail out in question was brought to the Administrator's attention.
Although this serious incident was reported to the Canadian Forces, it was not brought to my attention in time for me to report on it to Parliament in my report on the general election.
An administrative review must be carried out to ensure that such an incident never occurs again. The purpose of the review will be to (1) identify the procedures for sending, receiving and processing special ballots at the Elections Canada Distribution centre; (2) critically examine the mechanisms for control and compliance with those procedures; and (3) make recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of the control mechanisms and develop new ones, as required.
This review will need to shed light on the circumstances that led to the incident; the existing operational procedures for sending special ballot envelopes (including sending envelopes in the field and tracking, receiving and forwarding them to the Special Voting Rules Administrator); and the requisite duties, experience and training of Distribution centre employees assigned to reception. The review will also need to address the reporting mechanisms in effect when such incidents occur.
The review will be conducted by the Electoral Integrity Office with support from the Special Voting Rules Administrator. Cooperation between these two parties is essential in order to complete the review by November 30, 2016.
The results of the review will be collated into a report prepared by the Electoral Integrity Office. The report will be made public.
Chief Electoral Officer
c.c. Josée Villeneuve
Electoral Integrity Office
Special Voting Rules Administrator
Electoral Events Sector
C. Special Voting Rules Glossary
The following terms are used frequently in this report:
Additional assistant returning officer (AARO): Responsible for assisting the returning officer in the performance of all duties in connection with an electoral event in the area for which they are appointed. AAROs are appointed in electoral districts that cover a wide area, where communication is unusually difficult, or to fulfill a supervisory role relating to Special Voting Rules Expansion locations (e.g. campuses, friendship centres, etc.).
Alternative Voting Methods (AVM): The AVM directorate at Elections Canada is responsible for the administration of the Special Voting Rules, Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act, which provide access to the electoral process for those electors who cannot or do not wish to vote using conventional means.
Commanding Officer: An officer in command of a base, unit or element, or any other officer designated as a commanding officer by or under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff. During a federal electoral period, the Commanding Officer is responsible for providing the facilities and resources necessary to enable CAF electors to vote under Division 2 of Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act. This includes duties such as preparing a list of names of electors serving or attached to his/her unit, publishing a notice to inform CAF electors of the election, establishing polling stations, designating deputy returning officers and returning voting materials to Elections Canada.
Distribution centre: Elections Canada's distribution centre located at 440 Coventry Road, Ottawa, Ontario, where material is assembled prior to shipping and is sorted once it is returned from the offices of returning officers and additional assistant returning officers, international electors, national electors, Canadian Armed Forces electors and incarcerated electors.
Deputy returning officer (DRO): In the context of the Canadian Armed Forces vote: A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, typically an officer, who is appointed by the commanding officer of a Canadian Armed Forces unit to administer the service vote for that Canadian Armed Forces unit, including receiving voting material sent by the military vote coordinator and returning ballots to the distribution centre at the end of the Canadian Armed Forces voting period. In the context of the incarcerated vote: An individual appointed by the returning officer for the incarcerated vote at a correctional institution, whose main responsibility is to give special ballots to incarcerated electors at the polling station within that correctional institution. The deputy returning officer is assisted by a poll clerk (also appointed by the returning officer, whose responsibility is to handle completed applications, place bar code labels on applications/outer envelopes and provide the list of candidates to the electors).
Electoral coordinator: An officer from the consular section designated by the consular program manager and head of mission whose main responsibility is to provide basic information and voting materials to electors living outside Canada. Electoral coordinators can be either Canada-based officers or locally engaged officers.
Incarcerated vote coordinator: An Alternative Voting Methods employee who is responsible for managing the Incarcerated Voting Program. The coordinator ensures that incarcerated electors have the ability to vote by providing appropriate voting material, communicating regularly with the liaison officers of the various institutions, managing relationships with the courier services to ensure pickup of special ballots on Day 10 and monitoring their return to the distribution centre, and counting ballots in accordance with the provisions of the Canada Elections Act.
Incident Task Force (ITF): An Elections Canada working group with cross-sector representation that aims to reduce the time it takes for important information to become known to all potential actors in the organization, who may then have an opportunity to assist in ways that may not be immediately apparent.
International elector: Any person qualified to vote pursuant to section 3 of the Canada Elections Act who resides outside Canada and would vote by special ballot. International electors must have resided in Canada at some point before applying for registration, have lived outside Canada for less than five consecutive years and have the intention of returning to Canada to live.
Liaison officer (LO), Canadian Armed Forces Voting Program: Appointed to facilitate Canadian Armed Forces voting, liaison officers are designated by the Minister of National Defence and are responsible for communicating with the commanding officer of each unit they have liaison duties with regarding any matter that relates to the vote.
Liaison officer (LO), Incarcerated Voting Program: Appointed to facilitate the incarcerated vote, LOs for each correctional institution are designated by the Minister responsible for Correctional Service Canada and are responsible for facilitating the registration and voting of registered incarcerated electors and ensuring all election materials and ballots are picked up and shipped to the distribution centre in Ottawa.
Local elector: Any person qualified to vote pursuant to section 3 of the Canada Elections Act who votes by special ballot in their own electoral district because they cannot or do not wish to vote at the ordinary poll or advance polls.
Military vote coordinator (MVC): An individual hired on the basis of their knowledge of military operations related to the administration of the vote under Division 2 of Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act, and whose team is located at Elections Canada's distribution centre in Ottawa during a general election. Reporting to the Special Voting Rules Administrator, the MVC is responsible for ensuring all members of the Canadian Armed Forces, wherever located, have the ability to vote in the general election, by providing appropriate voting materials; encouraging deputy returning officers to ensure that special ballots completed by members of the Canadian Armed Forces are returned to Elections Canada for counting in accordance with section 214 of the Canada Elections Act; coordinating the counting of all received Canadian Armed Forces special ballots and communicating the results of those votes to the Special Voting Rules Administrator; and providing advice regarding Canadian Armed Forces organization, terminology and processes.
National elector: Any person who is qualified to vote pursuant to section 3 of the Canada Elections Act who resides in Canada but votes by special ballot outside their own electoral district, either within Canada or abroad.
Processing Room Coordinator (PRC): The AVM staff member who, during a general election, is responsible for managing the operational processes for the reception of paper application forms sent via mail, courier or fax and the assembly, shipment and reception of ballot kits for international and national electors. The PRC also supervises the courier services process including the printing of waybills. The PRC also ensures ballots are authenticated, securely stored, prepared and delivered to the appropriate staff and locations for counting.
Returning officer (RO): An individual appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer to manage the conduct of an electoral event in an electoral district.
Special ballot: A blank ballot on which the elector writes the name of the candidate of his or her choice, for use by electors who cannot or do not wish to vote during scheduled advance polls or on election day.
Special ballot coordinator (SBC): A staff member in the returning officer's office who receives the necessary delegation from the RO and who assists electors to register and vote by special ballot.
Special Voting Rules Administrator (SVRA): As prescribed by the Canada Elections Act, the SVRA is appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer to oversee the administration of the Special Voting Rules program.
Special Voting Rules (SVR): The process of registration and voting by special ballot as set out under the Special Voting Rules, Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act.
Special Voting Rules Expansion (SVRE): For the 42nd general election, Elections Canada opened 71 additional assistant returning offices in select institutions (post-secondary institutions, friendship centres, community centres) across the country to make voting by special ballot more accessible to certain target groups, including youth and Aboriginal electors. The SVRE pilot project had three main objectives: (1) to improve accessibility of the voting process by physically locating voting services closer to electors; (2) to increase electors' awareness of their voting options; and (3) to measure how well the service format would integrate into the current electoral process.