Approximately 300 election workers are appointed to administer a general election across the Northwest Territories and its 19 electoral districts.
The Chief Electoral Officer appoints a Returning Officer to run the election in each of the NWT's 19 electoral districts. Each Returning Officer is the primary contact person for voters and candidates in their electoral district. Neutrality and non-partisanship are crucial to the performance of Returning Officers, who will field many questions from election workers, Candidates, and Official Agents about the rules of conduct during an election campaign.
The overall duties of a Returning Officer include:
- appointing election workers;
- dividing the electoral district into polling divisions;
- revising the voters list;
- approving candidate nominations;
- directing the administration of the ballot; and
- conducting an official addition of the votes cast for each candidate.
Returning Officers work closely with the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer to help people understand the electoral process and to uphold the integrity of the electoral system.
Each Returning Officer appoints an Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) to help them perform their duties.
An ARO’s main responsibility is to assist the Returning Officer to deliver an election in their district. The Returning Officer may delegate authority for some, or all, of their powers allowed in the Elections and Plebiscites Act to the ARO.
Returning Officers also appoint Additional Assistant Returning Officers (AARO).
AAROs are located in communities without a resident Returning Officer. The AARO reports to the Returning Officer, or the Assistant Returning Officer, for that electoral district.
On polling days, the AARO assumes the role of Deputy Returning Officer for their community.
Some of the responsibilities of the AARO may include:
- providing elector information: how, when and where to register and vote;
- making nomination papers available to individuals considering candidacy;
- receiving nomination papers and candidate deposits and photos;
- posting notices as directed by the Returning Officer; and
- administering local polls, including special voting opportunities and regular polling day.
The Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) is appointed by a Returning Officer.
A DRO administers the polling process at Advance polls and on Ordinary Polling Day. The DRO reports to the Returning Officer.
DROs are single-day officers. On polling day, their job is to provide eligible electors with a ballot and ensure they follow the polling process when casting their ballot. When the polls close, they count the ballots and report the results.
DROs are also responsible for:
- receiving and ensuring the security of all poll supplies and ballots before, during and after polling day;
- examining electors’ personal identification to determine eligibility;
- administering the Oath of Elector as required;
- issuing ballots;
- ensuring the integrity of all aspects of the polling process;
- closing and counting the poll;
- reporting the results to the designated election official; and
- ensuring the ballot box is secure and returned to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
If you are interesting in serving Elections NWT as a Deputy Returning Officer, please visit the Employment Opportunities section of our website.
The Poll Clerk is appointed by a Returning Officer. Poll Clerks report to and assist the Deputy Returning Officer throughout the polling process.
A Poll Clerk’s job is to provide clerical support to the Deputy Returning Officer during the polling process. Some of the key activities carried out by a Poll Clerk are:
- striking voters’ names off the official List of Electors;
- entering voters’ names in the poll book;
- collecting Oath of Elector forms; and
- assisting the Deputy Returning Officer with closing and counting the poll.
If you are interested in serving Elections NWT as a Poll Clerk, please visit the Employment Opportunities section of our website.