17-B-2022-03 – Adaptations to ensure that the names of all candidates can appear on the ballot and to bring related amendments to procedures administered at polling stations
Canada Elections Act
December 12, 2022 by-election in the electoral district of Mississauga–Lakeshore (Ontario)
Adaptations to ensure that the names of all candidates can appear on the ballot and to bring related amendments to procedures administered at polling stations
Date of issue: November 24, 2022
Whereas, in accordance with section 115 of the Canada Elections Act ("the Act"), the Chief Electoral Officer provides the paper on which the ballots are printed and determines the weight and opacity of that paper;
Whereas in the administration of that provision, the Chief Electoral Officer procures a specific type of paper, the look, weight and opacity of which contribute to mitigate risks associated with the integrity of the electoral process, such as ballot counterfeiting, that this paper is delivered to the Chief Electoral Officer in sheets of a fixed size and that, as a result of the process used in milling that paper, it is impossible in the short term to procure such paper in a different format;
Whereas section 116 of the Act governs the printing of ballots, which shall be printed in Form 3 of Schedule 1 to that Act;
Whereas the printing of ballots in Form 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act on the paper procured by the Chief Electoral Officer for the printing of ballots limits to twenty-six the number of candidates who can appear on the ballot;
Whereas the writ for the by-election called for the electoral district of Mississauga–Lakeshore (Ontario) was issued on November 6, 2022, with polling day on December 12, 2022;
Whereas 40 candidates have been confirmed in that by-election;
Whereas Form 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act must be adapted in order to allow that form to include the number of candidates confirmed in the current by-election and to be printed on the specific paper procured by the Chief Electoral Officer for the production of ballots;
Whereas sections 66 and 117 of the Act provide that the ballot shall contain the names of the candidates, arranged in alphabetical order;
Whereas sections 66 and 117 of the Act provide that the ballot shall contain, under the name of each candidate:
(a) the name of the registered party that has endorsed the candidate; or
(b) with respect to a candidate who has not been endorsed by a registered party:
(i) the word "independent", when the candidate has requested this word to be added; or
(ii) no designation of political affiliation, in other cases;
Whereas the two-column ballot was identified as the best replacement solution for the one-column ballot shown at Form 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act, as a result of consultations with key stakeholders representing electors who often face barriers in voting;
Whereas the two-column ballot offers a design that is similar to the design provided by the Act, while preventing the need to print a one-column ballot more than one metre in length, the handling of which by an elector behind the voting compartment poses an important risk of compromising the secrecy of the vote;
Whereas the two-column ballot allows the font size of the ordinary ballot to be maintained, minimizing barriers for electors;
Whereas the two-column ballot allows all existing integrity features to be maintained, including the ballot's stub and counterfoil, and also allows the adapted ballot to be marked in a way that preserves the secrecy of the vote;
Whereas section 114 of the Act provides that ballot boxes provided by the Chief Electoral Officer shall be of the size and shape and made of the material determined by the Chief Electoral Officer and be constructed to allow seals for the use of the returning officers and other election officers to be affixed;
Whereas the design of these ballot boxes usually allows for them to hold up to a thousand ballots, a capacity sufficient, in a majority of cases, to hold all ballots marked by electors of a given polling division on polling day;
Whereas the ballot adapted for the purposes of this by-election is of an unusual format, that it is estimated a ballot box will hold approximately one hundred of these ballots and, consequently, that several ballot boxes will have to be made available at the polling stations to allow for the reception of all ballots marked by voters;
Whereas uniform procedures must be administered in relation to:
(a) the affixing of seals on a ballot box having reached its maximum capacity;
(b) the verification and affixing of seals on a new ballot box; and
(c) the safeguarding of ballot boxes that are at a polling station;
Whereas subsection 151(2) of the Act does not permit an election officer to make subsequent folds to the ballot after the counterfoil has been removed and destroyed;
Whereas the counterfoil of the ballot adapted for the purposes of this by-election and marked by the elector will need to be detached from that ballot, in a manner that allows for the secrecy of the vote to be maintained, before the ballot gets completely folded, that is, in order to reduce risks of seeing the ballot accidentally torn or damaged;
Whereas the election officer shall make subsequent folds to the ballot adapted for the purposes of this by-election after detaching and destroying the counterfoil, in order to reduce the size of the folded ballot so that the elector may deposit the ballot in the ballot box;
Whereas the election officers assigned to a polling station will provide each elector with all necessary information regarding the voting procedure, in order to allow the elector to mark their ballot in an appropriate manner;
Whereas the election officers will, among other things, inform the elector that, in order for their vote to be counted, the elector shall vote for only one of the candidates' whose name appears on the ballot;
Whereas section 152 of the Act allows an elector to receive a replacement ballot when the first ballot received by the elector becomes incapable of being used, but that an elector may only receive a single replacement ballot in application of that provision;
Whereas the template and format of the ballot adapted for the purposes of this by-election are unusual for electors, which could lead to a greater number of spoiled ballots;
And whereas subsection 17(1) of the Canada Elections Act provides the following:
17(1) During an election period or within 30 days after it, if an emergency, an unusual or unforeseen circumstance or an error makes it necessary, the Chief Electoral Officer may, for the sole purpose of enabling electors to exercise their right to vote or enabling the counting of votes, adapt any provision of this Act and, in particular, may extend the time for doing any act, subject to subsection (2), or may increase the number of election officers or polling stations.
Therefore, pursuant to subsection 17(1) of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer adapts the Canada Elections Act as follows:
1. (1) Paragraph 119(1)(g) of the Canada Elections Act is replaced by the following:
g) a ballot box;
(2) Section 119 of the Act is amended by adding the following before subsection (2):
Other ballot boxes needed
(1.1) During voting hours, the returning officer shall provide election officers who are assigned to a polling station with an additional ballot box as soon as an election officer assigned to that polling station determines that the ballot box provided under paragraph (1)(g)—or previously provided under this subsection—has reached its maximum capacity.
2. The Act is amended by adding the following after section 140:
Other ballot boxes needed
140.1 (1) An election officer assigned to a polling station that receives a new ballot box under subsection 119(1.1) shall, in full view of the candidates or their representatives who are present at the polling station, take the steps set out in section 140 with respect to that new ballot box.
(2) An election officer, who is assigned to the polling station, shall place the ballot box that was used in full view of all present and keep it there until the close of the polling station and, in accordance with instructions that the Chief Electoral Officer considers necessary to ensure the integrity of the vote, take the measures set out in those instructions.
Candidates may check seals
140.2 The candidates or their representatives may take note of the serial numbers of the seals on the following ballot boxes at the times indicated:
(a) for a ballot box that is placed on the table in accordance with section 140, note may be taken when it is place there; and
(b) for a ballot box that is placed on the table in accordance with subsection 140.1(1), note may be taken when it is placed there.
3. Subsection 151(2) of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (b):
(b.1) make subsequent folds to the ballot so that the ballot fits in the opening of the ballot box; and
4. Subsection 152(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(2) An elector who was already given a ballot under subsection (1) and whose ballot again becomes incapable of being used shall only be given one additional ballot under subsection (1).
5. The image shown below the title "Form of Ballot Paper Front" stated in Form 3 of Schedule 1 to the Canada Election Act is replaced by the image shown in the Schedule to this adaptation.
Chief Electoral Officer