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Election Officers

Approximately 300 election workers are appointed to administer a general election. Election officers in each electoral district are appointed by the Returning Officer.

Returning Officers

The Chief Electoral Officer appoints a Returning Officer to run the election in each of the 19 electoral districts. The Returning Officer is the primary contact person for voters and candidates in their electoral district.

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
  • conducting an official addition of the votes cast for each candidate

Neutrality and non-partisanship are crucial to the performance of a Returning Officer. During an election, Returning Officers will get questions from election workers, Candidates, and Official Agents about the rules of conduct during an election campaign.

A Returning Officer works closely with the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer to help people understand the electoral process and uphold the integrity of the electoral system.


Click here for a list of Returning Officers and the communities they serve.



Assistant Returning Officers

Each Returning Officer appoints an Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) to assist them in their duties in the Office of the Returning Officer.

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.

Additional Assistant Returning Officers

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 the 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
  • make nomination papers available to individuals considering candidacy
  • receive nomination papers and candidate deposits and photos
  • post notices as directed by the Returning Officer
  • administer local polls including special voting opportunities and regular polling day

Deputy Returning Officers

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 for the electoral district. 

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
  • 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, check out the Employment Opportunities section of our website.

Poll Clerks

The Poll Clerk is appointed by a Returning Officer. Poll Clerks reports to and assists the Deputy Returning Officer throughout the polling process.

A Poll Clerk’s job is to provide clerical support 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
  • Assisting the Deputy Returning Officer with closing and counting the poll

If you are interesting in serving Elections NWT as a Poll Clerk, check out the Employment Opportunities section of our website.