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About Elections NWT

The Northwest Territories follows a system of fixed date elections, whereby the Legislative Assembly is scheduled to be dissolved every four years so that a general election may be held. Polling day is the first Monday in October, four years after the last general election. However, with several different jurisdictional elections happening during the same time period, the date for the 2015 Territorial General Election was reset for November 23.

Although there is no law prohibiting territorial political parties, there is no mechanism to register a territorial political party.  As such, the Elections and Plebiscites Act has no provisions governing matters such as leadership selection or party financing. The absence of political parties in the electoral process is one of the features of the NWT's consensus government.


The major responsibilities of Elections NWT are:

  • the appointment and training of election officers;
  • informing the public about electoral rights and procedures;
  • maintaining  voters lists;
  • supervising the casting of ballots;
  • reporting election results;
  • reviewing candidate financial reports;
  • enforcing election law; and,
  • recommending changes to election legislation.

Between general elections, our work includes:

  • maintaining a general state of election readiness;
  • updating the Register of Territorial Electors
  • making operational improvements;
  • expanding awareness and education about electoral systems;
  • assisting the work of an electoral boundaries commission; and,
  • supporting the Legislative Assembly in amending election legislation.

Historical Events in Northern Elections

1960 - Extension of the franchise to Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

1979 - First election conducted under the Territorial Election Ordinance, rather than under the Canada Elections Act.

1982 - Plebiscite on the division of the Northwest Territories.

1992 - Plebiscite on the boundary for territorial division (for the creation of Nunavut).

1997 - First resident Chief Electoral Officer appointed.

1999 - First general election under completely devolved authority from Elections Canada to Elections NWT.

2003 - Separation of the role of Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and the Chief Electoral Officer.