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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

Distribution of 247 Canadian Armed Forces ballots across 139 electoral districts
Electoral district number Electoral district name Ballots not counted Candidate in first position Candidate in second position Difference
10001 Avalon 2 Liberal No affiliation 16,027
10005 Long Range Mountains 1 Liberal Conservative 25,804
10006 St. John's East 1 Liberal NDP 646
11001 Cardigan 1 Liberal Conservative 10,989
11003 Egmont 2 Liberal Conservative 4,336
12001 Cape Breton–Canso 1 Liberal Conservative 25,917
12003 Cumberland–Colchester 2 Liberal Conservative 17,270
12004 Dartmouth–Cole Harbour 1 Liberal NDP 17,650
12005 Halifax 3 Liberal NDP 8,269
12006 Halifax West 1 Liberal Conservative 26,540
12007 Kings–Hants 2 Liberal Conservative 24,349
12008 Sackville–Preston–Chezzetcook 1 Liberal NDP 6,548
12009 South Shore–St. Margarets 1 Liberal Conservative 18,140
12010 Sydney–Victoria 1 Liberal NDP 24,644
13001 Acadie–Bathurst 1 Liberal NDP 5,766
13002 Beauséjour 4 Liberal NDP 28,525
13003 Fredericton 4 Liberal Conservative 9,736
13005 Madawaska–Restigouche 1 Liberal NDP 11,108
13006 Miramichi–Grand Lake 1 Liberal Conservative 4,726
13007 Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe 1 Liberal Conservative 18,886
13008 New Brunswick Southwest 1 Liberal Conservative 2,031
13009 Saint John–Rothesay 1 Liberal Conservative 7,719
24005 Argenteuil–La Petite-Nation 1 Liberal NDP 9,443
24008 Beauport–Limoilou 1 Conservative NDP 2,580
24024 Dorval–Lachine–LaSalle 1 Liberal NDP 18,205
24049 Montarville 2 Liberal Bloc Québécois 2,388
24059 Québec 1 Liberal NDP 1,000
24066 Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot 1 NDP Liberal 598
24067 Saint-Jean 1 Liberal NDP 2,467
24076 Trois-Rivières 1 NDP Liberal 969
35002 Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing 1 NDP Liberal 2,405
35005 Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte* 1 Conservative Liberal 86
35006 Bay of Quinte 2 Liberal Conservative 9,500
35007 Beaches–East York 1 Liberal NDP 10,345
35010 Brampton North 1 Liberal Conservative 7,409
35016 Cambridge 1 Liberal Conservative 2,411
35023 Durham 1 Conservative Liberal 6,018
35025 Elgin–Middlesex–London 1 Conservative Liberal 10,381
35027 Etobicoke Centre 1 Liberal Conservative 9,542
35034 Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock 1 Conservative Liberal 8,084
35035 Hamilton Centre 2 NDP Liberal 5,001
35038 Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas 1 Liberal Conservative 9,873
35039 Hastings–Lennox and Addington 1 Liberal Conservative 225
35041 Kanata–Carleton 2 Liberal Conservative 7,648
35044 Kingston and the Islands 3 Liberal Conservative 21,493
35049 Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston 1 Conservative Liberal 8,074
35050 Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes 1 Conservative Liberal 3,850
35051 London–Fanshawe 1 NDP Liberal 3,470
35052 London North Centre 2 Liberal Conservative 12,437
35053 London West 1 Liberal Conservative 7,131
35056 Markham–Unionville 1 Conservative Liberal 3,009
35058 Mississauga Centre 1 Liberal Conservative 10,941
35061 Mississauga–Lakeshore 1 Liberal Conservative 3,844
35065 Newmarket–Aurora 2 Liberal Conservative 1,451
35067 Niagara Falls 1 Conservative Liberal 4,917
35068 Niagara West 1 Conservative Liberal 8,151
35072 Oakville 1 Liberal Conservative 4,459
35073 Oakville North–Burlington 2 Liberal Conservative 2,073
35074 Oshawa 3 Conservative NDP 3,823
35075 Ottawa Centre 1 Liberal NDP 3,113
35077 Ottawa South 2 Liberal Conservative 23,120
35080 Oxford 3 Conservative Liberal 7,667
35084 Peterborough–Kawartha 1 Liberal Conservative 5,824
35086 Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke 2 Conservative Liberal 7,529
35087 Richmond Hill 1 Liberal Conservative 1,757
35090 Toronto–St. Paul's 1 Liberal Conservative 16,105
35094 Scarborough Centre 1 Liberal Conservative 8,048
35097 Scarborough–Rouge Park 1 Liberal Conservative 16,326
35098 Scarborough Southwest 1 Liberal NDP 14,012
35099 Simcoe–Grey 2 Conservative Liberal 5,260
35103 Sudbury 1 Liberal NDP 9,741
35104 Thornhill 2 Conservative Liberal 13,516
35107 Timmins–James Bay 1 NDP Liberal 3,034
35112 Waterloo 1 Liberal Conservative 10,434
35113 Wellington–Halton Hills 3 Conservative Liberal 9,203
35116 Windsor–Tecumseh 1 NDP Conservative 8,559
35117 Windsor West 1 NDP Liberal 12,243
35119 York–Simcoe 1 Conservative Liberal 5,975
46001 Brandon–Souris 1 Conservative Liberal 5,328
46002 Charleswood–St. James–Assiniboia–Headingley 1 Liberal Conservative 6,123
46003 Churchill–Keewatinook Aski 1 NDP Liberal 912
46004 Dauphin–Swan River–Neepawa 2 Conservative Liberal 7,000
46005 Elmwood–Transcona 1 NDP Conservative 61
46010 Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman 1 Conservative Liberal 10,109
46011 Winnipeg Centre 1 Liberal NDP 8,981
47001 Battlefords–Lloydminster 2 Conservative NDP 14,617
47002 Cypress Hills–Grasslands 1 Conservative Liberal 19,669
47005 Moose Jaw–Lake Centre–Lanigan 1 Conservative NDP 13,295
47010 Saskatoon–Grasswood 1 Conservative NDP 5,257
47011 Saskatoon–University 1 Conservative NDP 4,477
47012 Saskatoon West 2 NDP Conservative 2,520
48002 Battle River–Crowfoot 1 Conservative Liberal 42,047
48003 Bow River 1 Conservative Liberal 31,861
48004 Calgary Centre 1 Liberal Conservative 750
48005 Calgary Confederation 1 Conservative Liberal 1,586
48007 Calgary Heritage 1 Conservative Liberal 22,091
48008 Calgary Midnapore 1 Conservative Liberal 28,019
48010 Calgary Rocky Ridge 2 Conservative Liberal 18,191
48012 Calgary Signal Hill 2 Conservative Liberal 18,750
48013 Calgary Skyview 1 Liberal Conservative 2,759
48014 Edmonton Centre 4 Liberal Conservative 1,199
48015 Edmonton Griesbach 9 Conservative NDP 2,848
48016 Edmonton Manning 11 Conservative Liberal 8,657
48018 Edmonton Riverbend 2 Conservative Liberal 11,377
48020 Edmonton West 2 Conservative Liberal 7,721
48021 Edmonton–Wetaskiwin 1 Conservative Liberal 30,289
48022 Foothills 1 Conservative Liberal 38,017
48023 Fort McMurray–Cold Lake 2 Conservative Liberal 15,222
48024 Grande Prairie–Mackenzie 1 Conservative Liberal 31,076
48025 Lakeland 4 Conservative Liberal 32,382
48026 Lethbridge 1 Conservative NDP 20,647
48028 Peace River–Westlock 3 Conservative NDP 27,215
48029 Red Deer–Mountain View 1 Conservative Liberal 37,889
48030 Red Deer–Lacombe 1 Conservative Liberal 34,364
48031 St. Albert–Edmonton 7 Conservative Liberal 13,440
48032 Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan 1 Conservative Liberal 29,027
48033 Sturgeon River–Parkland 24 Conservative Liberal 33,634
59001 Abbotsford 1 Conservative Liberal 7,452
59002 Burnaby North–Seymour 2 Liberal NDP 3,401
59004 Cariboo–Prince George 2 Conservative Liberal 2,767
59005 Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola 1 Conservative Liberal 1,458
59006 Chilliwack–Hope 1 Conservative Liberal 4,331
59009 Courtenay–Alberni 1 NDP Conservative 6,868
59014 Kelowna–Lake Country 2 Liberal Conservative 4,112
59017 Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon 1 Liberal Conservative 1,038
59018 Nanaimo–Ladysmith 1 NDP Liberal 6,898
59020 North Okanagan–Shuswap 1 Conservative Liberal 6,541
59023 Port Moody–Coquitlam 1 NDP Liberal 2,818
59026 Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke 3 NDP Liberal 5,214
59027 Saanich–Gulf Islands 4 Green Party Conservative 23,810
59028 Skeena–Bulkley Valley 2 NDP Conservative 11,595
59029 South Okanagan–West Kootenay 2 NDP Conservative 4,952
59031 Steveston–Richmond East 1 Liberal Conservative 2,856
59032 Surrey Centre 2 Liberal NDP 6,479
59037 North Island–Powell River 1 NDP Conservative 8,500
59039 Vancouver Quadra 3 Liberal Conservative 17,419
59041 Victoria 2 NDP Green Party 6,731
59042 West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country 1 Liberal Conservative 18,889
61001 Northwest Territories 1 Liberal NDP 3,389

* 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

Stéphane Perrault
Associate Chief Electoral Officer

Michel Roussel
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer
Electoral Events Sector

Dear Sirs:

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.

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer

c.c. Josée Villeneuve
Senior Director
Electoral Integrity Office

Sylvie Jacmain
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.