The Elections Amendment Act

This is an unofficial version.
If you need an official copy, use the bilingual (PDF) version.

S.M. 2022, c. 5

Bill 11, 4th Session, 42nd Legislature

The Elections Amendment Act

Explanatory Note

This note was written as a reader's aid to the Bill and is not part of the law.

This Bill amends The Elections Act.

Two significant changes are made to enable the use of new technologies, along with a number of other amendments.

Vote counting machines

The Bill permits the Chief Electoral Officer to authorize the use of vote counting machines to count the vote. The machines are not "voting machines" that people use to register their votes. Paper ballots will continue to be used. All other forms of voting, including Internet voting, remain prohibited. Depending on connectivity and related issues, manual counting of ballots will continue in some rural and remote regions as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer.

The secrecy of the vote is protected under the amendments, which forbid vote counting machines from being used in a way that allows a voter's choice to become known to an election official or a scrutineer.

Several safeguards ensure the integrity of the vote. Vote counting machines cannot be connected to an electronic network during voting except to upload results in a secure manner to Elections Manitoba or the returning officer. The machines must be successfully tested before being used, and precautions taken at all times to ensure their security. Results counted by machine may not be generated until election day.

Advance voting

All advance votes, whether cast by residents of the electoral division or non-residents, will be counted on election night in the electoral division in which they were cast and reported back to the appropriate home electoral division using secure electronic technology. This change in procedure replaces the current cumbersome process of transferring non-resident ballots first to the Chief Electoral Officer and then to each non-resident's home returning office. The new process will speed up the count of the advance vote.

Other amendments

Currently, the Chief Electoral Officer may make modifications to the voting process.  The statutory authority to do so is clarified to allow for the testing of new procedures over a specific time period, and to ensure that an election cannot be invalidated simply because approved modifications have been used.

References to the positions of assistant voting officer and registration officer are removed from the Act to allow more flexibility and efficiency in staffing and training.

The requirement to publish the residential address of a nominated candidate is removed.

Ballot printers will be able to print on-demand ballots at the voting place for non-residents voting in advance outside their electoral division, and in other permitted circumstances. On-demand ballots will have the appropriate candidate names for the voter's electoral division, reducing the need for write-in ballots.

The use of electronic voting books will speed up voter check-in and more efficiently record who has cast their ballot.

In a voting place, voters will be served by the first available voting officer instead of having to go to an assigned table, thus reducing lineups.

At regular intervals during voting, candidates and registered parties will receive information as to who has voted.

Voters who have a disability or difficulty reading or writing may use their own assistive device to help them vote or one provided by the Chief Electoral Officer.

(Assented to March 16, 2022)

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. E30 amended

1

The Elections Act is amended by this Act.

2

Section 1 is amended

(a) by replacing the definition "election official" with the following:

"election official" means a returning officer, assistant returning officer, senior voting officer, voting officer or registration agent appointed under this Act. (« fonctionnaire électoral »)

(b) by adding the following definitions:

"ballot transfer box" means a box used to deliver ballots and other election materials to the returning officer at the close of voting. (« urne de transmission des bulletins »)

"declined", in relation to a ballot, means a ballot that a voter has either not marked for any candidate or has marked "declined". (« refusé »)

"vote counting machine" means any equipment attached to a ballot box that scans a ballot to record the vote of a voter and tabulate the results of the election. (« appareil de dépouillement du scrutin »)

"voting book" means the voting book required by section 112, whether in electronic form or otherwise. (« registre du scrutin »)

3(1)

Subsection 28.1(1) is amended by striking out "Modifications" in the section heading and substituting "Testing of modifications".

3(2)

Subsection 28.1(3) is repealed.

3(3)

The following is added after subsection 28.1(4):

Content of proposal

28.1(4.0.1)    The chief electoral officer's proposal must

(a) identify the electoral division or divisions to which the modification is to apply;

(b) set out the time period during which the modification is to apply; and

(c) specify any provisions of this Act that will not be complied with and the nature of the non-compliance.

3(4)

Subsection 28.1(6) is repealed.

3(5)

The following is added after subsection 28.1(7):

Validity of election

28.1(8)

An election held in accordance with this section is not invalid by reason of any non-compliance with this Act that is authorized by the chief electoral officer's direction.

4

The centred heading before section 41 is amended by striking out "AND ASSISTANT VOTING OFFICERS".

5(1)

Subsection 41(1) is amended by striking out "a voting officer" and substituting "one or more voting officers".

5(2)

Subsection 41(2) is replaced with the following:

Exception

41(2)

The returning officer or the assistant returning officer may act as a voting officer for an advance voting station located in the returning office.

6

Section 42 is repealed.

7

Sections 43 and 44 and the centred heading before section 43 are repealed.

8

Section 44.1 is amended by striking out "and" at the end of clause (a), adding "and" at the end of clause (b) and adding the following after clause (b):

(c) appoint information officers to direct and assist voters at a voting place.

9

Subsection 59(2) is amended by adding "and" at the end of clause (a) and repealing clause (b).

10

Subsection 76.1(2) is amended

(a) in clause (a), by striking out "voting station" and substituting "most convenient voting place"; and

(b) in clause (c), by striking out "advance voting stations" and substituting "convenient advance voting places".

11

Subsection 93(2) is amended

(a) in clause (b), by striking out everything before "after striking off" and substituting "provide each voting officer of an advance voting station access to the official voters list for the province,"; and

(b) in clause (c), by striking out everything before "after striking off" and substituting "provide each voting officer access to the official voters list for the electoral division for use on election day,".

12

The heading for Division 1 of Part 8 is replaced with "BALLOTS, BALLOT BOXES AND VOTE COUNTING MACHINES".

13

The centred heading "BALLOTS AND BALLOT BOXES" is added before section 98.

14(1)

Subsections 98(1) and (2) are replaced with the following:

Regular ballots

98(1)

The chief electoral officer must arrange for regular ballots to be printed.

Form of ballots

98(2)

Regular ballots must be in the prescribed form.

Use of ballot printers

98(2.1)

The chief electoral officer may direct the use of ballot printers to print regular ballots on demand when circumstances warrant.

14(2)

Subsection 98(3) is repealed.

15

Subsections 99(1) and (2) are replaced with the following:

Write-in ballots

99(1)

The chief electoral officer may direct the use of write-in ballots at advance or institutional voting stations or for absentee voting when circumstances warrant.

Form of write-in ballots

99(2)

Write-in ballots must be in the prescribed form.

16(1)

Clause 100(1)(b) is amended by striking out ", and the numbers on those ballots".

16(2)

Subsection 100(2) is amended by striking out "returning officer" and substituting "chief electoral officer".

17

Section 101 is replaced with the following:

Ballot boxes

101

A ballot box

(a) must come with enough consecutively numbered seals that cannot be re-used;

(b) must be constructed so that ballots can be inserted into it but inserted ballots cannot be withdrawn without removing a seal or causing obvious damage to the box; and

(c) may be constructed so that a vote counting machine can be attached.

18

The following is added after section 101:

VOTE COUNTING MACHINES

CEO may direct use of vote counting machines

101.1(1)

The chief electoral officer may direct the use of vote counting machines.

Requirements

101.1(2)

The following requirements apply to the use of vote counting machines:

1.

A vote counting machine must not be a part of or connected to an electronic network during voting. However, at the discretion of the chief electoral officer, the machine may be securely connected to an electronic network to transmit information to the chief electoral officer or to a returning officer if authorized by the chief electoral officer.

2.

A vote counting machine must be successfully tested before it is first used for an election. Testing must include, but is not limited to, logic and accuracy testing.

3.

With respect to the marking of ballots, a vote counting machine must be programmed so that it detects the following and provides a notification:

(a) when there is no mark on the ballot or the mark made cannot be read by the machine;

(b) when there is more than one mark on the ballot.

4.

A vote counting machine must not be used in a way that allows a voter's choice to be made known to an election official or to a candidate or scrutineer.

5.

A vote counting machine must not be used to generate, print or report election results until after the close of voting on election day.

Procedures established by the CEO

101.1(3)

The chief electoral officer must establish and publish procedures for vote counting machines, including the following:

(a) the use of vote counting machines by the chief electoral officer and election officials;

(b) the testing of vote counting machines as described in item 2 of subsection (2);

(c) the steps to be taken when a vote counting machine provides a notification described in item 3 of subsection (2);

(d) the circumstances in which a voting officer may transcribe a voter's candidate choice onto a replacement ballot, if the voter's intent is clear and the vote counting machine has rejected the ballot or cannot read it;

(e) the security of vote counting machines while they are being used in voting and at other times;

(f) anything else the chief electoral officer considers necessary for conducting voting and maintaining the integrity of voting when vote counting machines are used.

When vote counting machines are used

101.1(4)

When the chief electoral officer directs the use of vote counting machines,

(a) it is not necessary to equip every voting station with a vote counting machine; and

(b) the fact that a vote counting machine returns a marked ballot, or gives a notification that a ballot is not marked correctly, does not violate the secrecy of voting as required by this Act.

19

The centred heading "ELECTION MATERIALS GENERALLY" is added before section 102.

20

Subsection 102(1) is amended by adding "ballot transfer boxes, vote counting machines," after "ballot boxes,".

21

The Division heading before section 103 is amended by striking out "VOTING STATIONS AND PLACES" and substituting "VOTING PLACES AND STATIONS".

22(1)

Subsections 103(1) and (2) are replaced with the following:

Establishing voting places

103(1)

The returning officer must establish a voting place for each voting area in the electoral division.

Location of voting places

103(2)

A voting place must be located in a convenient location for a majority of the voters in the voting area.

22(2)

Subsection 103(4) is replaced with the following:

Voting places in population centres

103(4)

Subject to the other requirements of this section, if a voting area contains a population centre, the returning officer must make every attempt to locate the voting place for that area in that population centre.

23

Section 104 is replaced with the following:

Voting stations

104

The returning officer must establish one or more voting stations at each voting place.

24(1)

Subsection 106(1) is replaced with the following:

New voting place if needed

106(1)

If it becomes impossible or impractical to use a voting place, the returning officer must move the voting place to a new location that is as close as possible to the old one.

24(2)

Subsection 106(2) is amended, in the part before clause (a), by striking out "a voting station is moved to a new voting place" and substituting "a voting place is moved to a new location".

25

Section 107 is repealed.

26

Clause 108(a) is amended by striking out "a black lead pencil" and substituting "an instrument".

27(1)

Subsection 111(2) is amended by striking out "before the voting station opens" and substituting "before a voting station where ballots are to be counted by hand opens".

27(2)

The following is added after subsection 111(2):

If vote counting machine used

111(2.1)

If ballots are to be counted by a vote counting machine, the voting officer must demonstrate to all persons present that no votes have been recorded on the machine.

27(3)

Subsection 111(3) is amended by striking out "is kept on a table or other surface off the floor and".

28(1)

Subsections 112(1), (2) and (3) are amended by striking out "assistant" wherever it appears.

28(2)

Subsection 112(2) is further amended by striking out "the person's ballot is put into the ballot box" and substituting "the person is given a ballot".

29

Section 113 is amended

(a) by replacing clause (a) with the following:

(a) the voting officer or officers;

(b) by repealing clause (c).

30(1)

Subsection 114(2) is amended

(a) by adding "and" at the end of clause (a) and replacing clause (b) with the following:

(b) inspect the voting book when allowed to do so by the voting officer;

(b) by repealing clause (c).

30(2)

The following is added after subsection 114(2):

If vote counting machine used

114(3)

To protect the secrecy of the vote when ballots are being inserted into a vote counting machine, neither a candidate nor a scrutineer may examine or object to a ballot or to the counting of ballots by the machine.

31

The following is added after section 114:

Information for candidates and parties as to who has voted

114.1

At regular intervals during voting as determined by the chief electoral officer, the chief electoral officer must provide candidates and registered political parties with information as to who has voted.

32(1)

Subsection 115(1) is replaced with the following:

Applying for ballot

115(1)

A person who wishes to vote on election day must go to a voting place in their electoral division and give their name and address to the voting officer.

32(2)

Subsection 115(3) is amended by striking out "or registration officer".

32(3)

Subsections 115(3.1) and (4) are amended by striking out "or registration officer".

32(4)

Subsection 115(7) is replaced with the following:

Striking name from voters list

115(7)

A voting officer must strike a person's name off the official voters list when the person is given a ballot.

33

Subsection 116(4) is amended by striking out "assistant".

34

Subsection 117(2) is replaced with the following:

Voting procedure

117(2)

The following steps must be taken when a person votes at a regular voting station.

STEP 1: Voting officer gives ballot to voter

The voting officer must

(a) initial the ballot and note the voting area;

(b) explain to the voter how to mark the ballot; and

(c) give the ballot to the voter.

STEP 2: Voter marks ballot

The voter must take the ballot directly to the voting compartment and without delay mark it or decline.

STEP 3: Voter returns ballot to voting officer

The voter must put the ballot in a secrecy sleeve or fold it, as directed by the voting officer, so as to ensure that the voter's vote is not visible to any other person, and immediately return it to the voting officer.

STEP 4: Voting officer examines ballot

The voting officer must confirm that it is the same ballot that was provided to the voter by ensuring that it has been initialed and the voting area noted.

STEP 5: Putting the ballot in the ballot box

If a vote counting machine is used, the voting officer must insert the ballot into the machine in full view of those present. If the machine provides a notification that the ballot cannot be read, the voting officer must follow the procedures established by the chief electoral officer under clause 101.1(3)(c).

If no vote counting machine is used, the voting officer must either return the ballot to the voter to put into the ballot box or put the ballot into the ballot box in full view of those present.

35

Section 118 is repealed.

36(1)

Subsection 119(1) is replaced with the following:

Voter requiring assistance

119(1)

A voter who has a disability or difficulty reading or writing may do one or both of the following:

(a) ask the voting officer to allow another person to come to the voting compartment with the voter and help them mark the ballot or decline;

(b) use their own assistive device or an assistive device provided by the chief electoral officer (such as a braille template or magnifier) to vote.

If voter uses CEO's assistive device

119(1.1)

The voting officer must explain to the voter how to use an assistive device provided by the chief electoral officer.

36(2)

Subsection 119(2) is amended by striking out "18 years old" and substituting "16 years old".

36(3)

Clause 119(4)(b) is replaced with the following:

(b) must mark the ballot, or assist the voter to do so, as directed by the voter; and

37

Section 121 is replaced with the following:

Allowing voter to vote outside

121(1)

If a voter cannot get into the voting place because of a disability, the voting officer may take a ballot package, consisting of a certificate envelope and ballot, outside the entrance of the voting place to allow the person to vote.

Privacy

121(2)

The voting officer must take all practical steps to ensure that a person voting outside the voting place can mark their ballot without being observed and without interference or interruption.

Candidates and scrutineers may be present

121(3)

Candidates and scrutineers may accompany the voting officer when a ballot package is taken outside the voting place.

Procedure on return to voting place

121(4)

On returning to the voting place, the voting officer must remove the ballot from the certificate envelope and, while maintaining the secrecy of the vote,

(a) insert the ballot into a vote counting machine if one is being used; or

(b) put the ballot in the ballot box if no vote counting machine is used.

38(1)

Subsection 122(1) of the English version is amended by striking out "fold it and".

38(2)

Subsection 122(2) is amended by striking out ", without unfolding the returned ballot,".

39

Subsections 125(4) and (5) are amended by striking out "Thursday" wherever it appears and substituting "Saturday".

40

Section 127 is repealed.

41

Sections 129 to 131 and the centred heading before section 129 are replaced with the following:

VOTING

Advance voting

129(1)

A voter may vote at an advance voting station in accordance with this section, whether they reside in the electoral division in which the voting station is located or not.

Identification requirements

129(2)

A voter must establish their identity to the voting officer in accordance with section 2.

Type of ballot

129(3)

A voter who resides in the electoral division in which the voting station is located must vote by regular ballot using the procedures in Part 9 (regular voting). A non-resident voter must vote by regular ballot if available or, if not, by write-in ballot using the procedures in section 139 (write-in ballot).

Notice to returning officer

130(1)

By the end of each day of advance voting, the voting officer must report the name of each voter who voted at the voting station to the returning officer.

Notation on official voters list

130(2)

For each voter who votes at an advance voting station, the returning officer must strike their name off the official voters list and note "advance" beside their name.

Transfer of ballots to returning officer

130.1

At the close of voting at an advance voting station, or at the end of the day of advance voting if directed to do so by the chief electoral officer, the voting officer of an advance voting station must — in the presence of any candidates or scrutineers who are present — take the following steps:

1.

Open the ballot box and transfer the ballots and any certificate envelopes to a ballot transfer box.

2.

Arrange for the ballot transfer box to be sent to the returning officer of the electoral division in which the votes were cast.

Counting the advance vote

131

At 8:00 p.m. on election day, the returning officer must deal with and count the advance vote at the returning office using

(a) as nearly as possible, the procedures in subsection 140(3) for write-in ballots (counting institutional write-in ballots); and

(b) the procedures in section 159 or 159.1 for regular ballots (counting regular ballots on election day).

42

Sections 132 to 135 and the centred heading before section 132 are repealed.

43

Section 136 is replaced with the following:

Treatment of late advance ballots

136

If a certificate envelope containing an advance ballot is received by the returning officer after 8:00 p.m. on election night, the returning officer must

(a) keep the envelope in a secure location; and

(b) count the ballot with the institutional write-in ballots under subsection 140(3).

44

Subsection 137(3.1) is amended by striking out "or assistant voting officer".

45

Section 138 is replaced with the following:

Ballots — institutional vote

138

A voter at an institutional voting station must vote by write-in ballot unless regular ballots are available.

46

Section 140 is replaced with the following:

Counting institutional vote

140(1)

At 8:00 p.m. on election day or at a time specified by the chief electoral officer, the voting officer of an institutional voting station must — in the presence of any candidates or their scrutineers who are present — take the following steps:

STEP 1: Reconcile the ballots

Count the number of ballots issued to voters and the number of voters who appear to have voted according to the voting book.

Complete and sign a certificate of those counts and allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

Count and record the spoiled ballots.

STEP 2: Count the ballots or transfer them to the RO for counting

At the direction of the chief electoral officer, open the ballot box and do one of the following:

(a) count the write-in ballots using the procedures in subsection 140(3), and count any regular ballots using as nearly as possible the procedures in section 159 or 159.1;

(b) put the ballots and all other election materials in a ballot transfer box and deliver it to the returning officer to count the ballots using those same procedures.

If returning officer counts ballots

140(2)

If the ballots are transferred to the returning officer, the returning officer must notify the candidates of the time and place for counting the ballots.

Counting the write-in ballots

140(3)

Write-in ballots are to be counted as follows in the presence of the candidates or their scrutineers or two witnesses if no candidates or scrutineers are present:

1.

If the certificate envelopes indicate that write-in ballots have been cast in more than one electoral division, sort the certificate envelopes by electoral division. Proceed with steps 2 to 9 for each electoral division.

2.

Verify the address of each voter and ensure that it corresponds to the correct electoral division.

3.

From the voter's name and address on the certificate envelope, determine whether the voter is on the voter's list for the electoral division and whether the voter has previously voted in the election.

4.

If the voter is not on the voters list but the voter's address is in the electoral division, add the voter to the list.

5.

If the voter has previously voted or the voter's address is not in the electoral division, set aside the certificate envelope unopened and put it in a separate envelope for ballots not to be counted.

6.

Open the remaining certificate envelopes, remove the ballot envelopes and — after separating the ballot envelopes from the certificate envelopes so that a voter's name cannot be identified with a ballot — open the ballot envelopes and examine the write-in ballots.

7.

Reject any write-in ballot that

(a) appears not to have been supplied for the election;

(b) does not set out the name of a candidate in the electoral division in the space provided on the front of the ballot or "declined";

(c) sets out the name of more than one candidate;

(d) is marked in a way that could identify the voter; or

(e) indicates a vote for a candidate who has withdrawn from the election.

However, no write-in ballot that clearly indicates the candidate for whom the voter intended to vote is to be rejected merely because

(f) the ballot is marked out of, or partly out of, its proper space;

(g) the candidate's name is written incorrectly; or

(h) in addition to a candidate's name, the voter has written the name of the registered political party that has endorsed the candidate or the word "independent".

8.

For each electoral division, examine the write-in ballots that are not rejected and arrange them in piles according to the name of the candidate for which the vote was cast. Place the ballots marked "declined" in a separate pile. Deal with and count the ballots in each pile. Count and record separately the declined ballots, the rejected ballots and the ballots that have been objected to.

9.

After counting the write-in ballots and any regular ballots, follow the chief electoral officer's instructions to announce and report the results, prepare a statement of the vote, prepare envelopes for the ballots and deal with the ballot transfer box.

47

The Division heading before section 141 is amended by striking out "REMOTE".

48(1)

Subsection 141(1) is amended

(a) by replacing the section heading with "Mobile voting stations"; and

(b) by striking out "remote".

48(2)

Subsections 141(2) to (4) of the English version are amended by striking out "remote" wherever it occurs.

49

Section 142 is replaced with the following:

Counting the mobile vote

142

At 8:00 p.m. on election day or at a time specified by the chief electoral officer, the voting officer of a mobile voting station must deal with and count the ballots cast at the station using

(a) the procedures in subsection 140(3) for write-in ballots; and

(b) the procedures in section 159 or 159.1 for regular ballots.

50(1)

Clause 146(3)(a) of the English version is replaced with the following:

(a) strike the voter's name off the voters list for absentee voting and note "absentee" beside their name; and

50(2)

Clause 146(3)(b) is replaced with the following:

(b) enter the voter's name and address in the voting book for absentee voters.

51

Clause 150(b) is amended by striking out "subsection 140(4)" and substituting "subsection 140(3)".

52

Clause 152(4)(a) is amended by striking out "draw a line through the voter's name on" and substituting "strike the voter's name off".

53

Section 153 is amended by replacing STEP 2 with the following:

STEP 2: Mark the ballot

Mark the ballot or decline.

54

Item 4 of section 156 is amended by adding "or 159.1" after "section 159".

55

Sections 158 to 161 and the centred heading before section 158 are replaced with the following:

COUNTING THE VOTE

Counting the vote

158

Immediately after the voting place is closed, the vote must be counted in full view of any candidates or scrutineers present.

Steps to follow — with vote counting machine

159(1)

The voting officer must take the following steps in counting the vote if a vote counting machine is used:

STEP 1: Reconcile the ballots

For each voting station and voting place, count the number of ballots issued to voters and the number of voters who appear to have voted according to the voting book.

Complete and sign a certificate of those counts and allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

Count and record the spoiled ballots.

STEP 2: Follow count procedures by CEO

Use the vote counting machine, in accordance with the procedures established by the chief electoral officer, to produce a paper record of the following for the voting place:

(a) the number of votes cast for each candidate;

(b) the number of rejected and declined ballots.

STEP 3: Announce the results

Announce the results to the candidates and scrutineers present and report the results to the returning officer.

STEP 4: Prepare a statement of the vote

From the paper record of the votes produced by the vote counting machine, complete and sign a statement of the vote for the voting place, in the prescribed form, setting out the number of votes cast for each candidate and the number of rejected ballots. Include in the statement the number of declined and spoiled ballots. Account for all the ballots supplied by the returning officer. Allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

STEP 5: Open the ballot box and transfer the ballots

Open the ballot box to which the vote counting machine is attached and transfer the ballots to a ballot transfer box.

STEP 6: Deal with unused and spoiled ballots

Place the unused and spoiled ballots in separate envelopes. Seal and sign each envelope and allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

STEP 7: Place election materials in the ballot transfer box

Put the statement of the vote, the envelopes containing the unused and spoiled ballots, and any other material directed by the chief electoral officer in the ballot transfer box and seal and sign it. Allow any candidate or scrutineer present to sign across the seal.

STEP 8: Deliver the ballot transfer box to the returning officer

Personally deliver the sealed ballot transfer box and the vote counting machine to the returning officer or to a person designated by the returning officer. If personal delivery is impractical, arrange for secure delivery by another means as instructed by the returning officer.

If technical problems

159(2)

If, in the opinion of the voting officer, there are technical or similar problems with the vote counting machine, the voting officer must follow the procedures established by the chief electoral officer for conducting the count.

Steps to follow — without vote counting machine

159.1

The voting officer must take the following steps in counting the vote if a vote counting machine is not used:

STEP 1: Reconcile the ballots

For each voting station and voting place, count the number of ballots issued to voters and the number of voters who appear to have voted according to the voting book.

Complete and sign a certificate of those counts and allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

Count and record the spoiled ballots.

STEP 2: Count the number of ballots cast

Open the ballot box and count and record the number of ballots in the box.

STEP 3: Determine if ballots are acceptable

Accept every ballot that is marked in a way that clearly indicates the voter's intention to vote for a single candidate.

However, the following ballots must be rejected:

(a) a ballot that the voting officer did not give to the voter;

(b) a ballot marked in a way that could identify the voter;

(c) a ballot marked beside the name of more than one candidate;

(d) a ballot marked beside the name of a candidate that also includes the word "declined";

(e) a ballot marked beside the name of a candidate who has withdrawn from the election;

(f) a ballot that has more than two marks beside the name of a candidate.

No ballot is to be rejected merely because

(g) the "X" or other acceptable mark is not inside the space provided for that purpose beside the candidate's name; or

(h) the voter has marked the ballot with something other than the instrument provided in the voting compartment.

STEP 4: Decide about objections to ballots

Consider and record each objection raised by a candidate or scrutineer about the acceptance or rejection of a ballot and make a decision without delay.

STEP 5: Count the ballots

Count and record the ballots accepted for each candidate.

Count and record separately the declined ballots, the rejected ballots and the ballots that have been objected to.

STEP 6: Announce the results

Announce the results to the candidates and scrutineers present and report the results to the returning officer.

STEP 7: Prepare a statement of the vote

Complete and sign a statement of the vote, in the prescribed form, setting out the number of votes cast for each candidate and the number of rejected ballots. Include in the statement the number of declined and spoiled ballots. Account for all the ballots supplied by the returning officer. Allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

STEP 8: Prepare envelopes for all ballots

Put into separate envelopes the accepted ballots for each candidate, the rejected ballots not objected to, the rejected ballots objected to, the declined ballots, the spoiled ballots and the unused ballots.

Seal and sign each envelope and allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

STEP 9: Put election materials in ballot transfer box

Put the statement of the vote, the various envelopes containing the ballots, including unused and spoiled ballots, and any other material directed by the chief electoral officer in a ballot transfer box and seal and sign it. Allow any candidate or scrutineer present to sign across the seal.

STEP 10: Deliver the ballot transfer box to the returning officer

Personally deliver the sealed ballot transfer box to the returning officer or to a person designated by the returning officer. If personal delivery is impractical, arrange for secure delivery by another means as instructed by the returning officer.

ÉTAPE 10 : remettre l'urne de transmission des bulletins au directeur du scrutin

Il remet en mains propres l'urne de transmission des bulletins scellée au directeur du scrutin ou à la personne que ce dernier désigne. S'il est difficilement possible de les remettre en mains propres, il les fait parvenir par un moyen sécuritaire selon les directives du directeur du scrutin.

FINAL TALLY OF VOTES BY RETURNING OFFICER

RO to do final tally of votes

160(1)

The returning officer must complete a final tally of the votes as soon as possible after

(a) all the ballot transfer boxes are received from the voting officers; and

(b) the results of the advance vote under section 131 and the institutional vote under section 140 have been reported by all the returning officers of electoral divisions in which those votes were cast.

Candidates and scrutineers present

160(2)

The returning officer must give the candidates notice of the time and place of the final tally, and must conduct it in the presence of the candidates or their scrutineers, or two witnesses if no candidates or scrutineers are present.

RO may not alter a decision of the voting officer

160(3)

The returning officer may not change a voting officer's decision to accept or reject a ballot.

Steps to follow

161

The returning officer must take the following steps in doing the final tally of the votes.

STEP 1: Verify the statement of the vote

Open each ballot box or ballot transfer box received from the voting officers. From the statement of the vote and the returned election materials, verify that each statement of the vote is accurate and make any necessary corrections in accordance with the instructions of the chief electoral officer.

STEP 2: Prepare statement of official results

From the statements of the vote for all voting places and from the results of the count of the non-resident advance vote under section 131 and the institutional vote under section 140, prepare a statement of official results for the electoral division in the prescribed form. The statement must set out

(a) the total number of votes cast for each candidate;

(b) the number of votes cast on election day in each voting area for each candidate;

(c) the number of voters registered for each voting area;

(d) the number of advance, institutional, absentee and homebound votes cast;

(e) the number of rejected and declined ballots.

STEP 3: Return election material to box

Put any material removed from the ballot box or ballot transfer box back in the box and seal and sign the box. Allow any candidate or scrutineer present to also sign.

56(1)

Clause 163(1)(a) is amended by adding ", ballot transfer boxes" after "ballot boxes".

56(2)

Subsection 163(4) is amended by adding "or voting place" after "voting station".

57

Section 164 is replaced with the following:

Opening ballot box or transfer box to retrieve information

164(1)

A returning officer who needs access to materials in a ballot box or ballot transfer box may, after notifying the candidates, open the box, obtain the necessary information or materials and immediately reseal the box.

Candidates or scrutineers present

164(2)

When a ballot box or ballot transfer box has been sealed by the returning officer in step 3 of section 161, it may be opened only in the presence of the candidates or their scrutineers or two witnesses if no candidates or scrutineers are present.

58

Subsection 167(3) is amended by striking out "and assistant voting officers".

59

Subsection 180(2) is amended

(a) in clause (d), by adding "or vote counting machine" after "ballot box";

(b) in clause (e) of the English version, by striking out "the back of"; and

(c) in clause (f), by striking out "or ballot box" and substituting "ballot box, ballot transfer box or vote counting machine".

60

Clause 182(1)(e) is replaced with the following:

(e) as a voting officer or as a person entrusted by a voting officer, fails without lawful excuse to deliver ballots, a ballot box, a ballot transfer box, a vote counting machine or other election materials to the returning officer or chief electoral officer when required to do so under this Act;

Coming into force

61

This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.