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Frequently Asked Questions: Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh Byelection Mail-in-Ballot

Friday, January 14, 2022

Timeline of byelection:

 

January 10th – Writ was issued and the byelection started

January 14th – nomination period closes at 2pm. Candidates have until 5pm that day to withdraw. Ballots are printed the next day.

January 17th – ballot packages will be mailed to all registered electors.

January 28th – if you wish to mail your ballot back to Elections NWT instead of dropping it off with the RO, AARO or at the Elections NWT office, we encourage you to mail it by this day.

January 29th – last day electors who were not on the voter’s list can register for a ballot

February 8th – The last day for electors to submit their ballot packages to AAROs in Łutselk’e and Fort Resolution, the Returning Office in Ndılǫ, or to Elections NWT.

February 8th – 8pm – polls close and any ballot received after this time will not be counted.

February 9th – AAROs in Łutselk’e and Fort Resolution travel to Yellowknife. Election workers will open each poll’s ballot box, individually open each privacy envelope and record the vote.

 

How do I get my ballot?

Each registered voter will be receiving an envelope with their ballot, a privacy envelope to put their ballot in, the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope, into which the privacy ballot is put, and a preaddressed and stamped return envelope to send it back to Elections NWT.

 

I haven’t received my ballot, what do I do?

First, check to make sure you are on the voters list: https://www.electionsnwt.ca/en/voter-registration

If you are on the list, please call Elections NWT to confirm that a ballot package was mailed to you, toll free, at 844-767-9100. In the event that it is lost in the mail, a new ballot package can be couriered to the Returning Office or the Additional Assistant Returning Officers for you to pick up.

If you are not on the list, please follow the steps here to request a ballot: https://www.electionsnwt.ca/en/absentee-ballot-application

 

How do I register to vote if I am not on the list?

Go to https://www.electionsnwt.ca/en/absentee-ballot-application and follow the steps to be registered and request a ballot.

 

How do I fill out my ballot?

Each voter will be receiving an envelope with their ballot, a privacy envelope to put their ballot in, the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope, into which the privacy ballot is put, and a preaddressed and stamped return envelope to send it back to Elections NWT. There is also a sheet explaining what to do:

  1. Fill out ‘Part 1’ on the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope (1081e).

IMPORTANT: If you do not fill out Part 1, your ballot will not be counted.

  1. On the ballot, make a mark in the area provided beside the name of the Candidate you wish to vote for.
  2. If you are declining your Ballot do not make a mark for any of the Candidates and leave your ballot blank.
  3. Complete the front of the white Absentee Ballot Envelope (1082e) to indicate that you either marked or declined your ballot.
  4. Place your marked or declined Ballot in the 1082e envelope and seal the envelope.

IMPORTANT: Only place one ballot in the envelope. If there is more than one ballot in the 1082e envelope, none of them will be counted.

  1. Place 1082e white envelope inside the 1081e brown envelope and seal the 1081e envelope.
  2. Place the 1081e envelope inside 1083e envelope and seal the 1083e envelope.
  3. Complete the return address portion on the top left of the 1083e envelope.
  4. Place the 1083e envelope:
    1.  in the mail,
    2. drop it off at the Returning Office, 1st Floor, Det’on Cho Building, Ndılo
    3. If in Fort Resolution, contact Lorraine Villeneuve
    4. If in Łutselk’e, contact Jeanette Lockhart
    5. or drop it off to Elections NWT, 3rd Floor YK Centre East

 

Why can I only vote by mail? Why can’t I vote in person?

Elections NWT made the decision to move proactively to a mail-in format after the Omicron variant started taking off in the south and we saw our first case here in the NWT. We had concerns that by moving forward with a conventional byelection, with electors attending a polling place on February 8th, this could become a public health concern. In the event that we had to move to a mail-in ballot mid-election, it is possible that many electors would not have received their ballots with enough time to return them by February 8th.

 

What happens after I vote?

Electors in Dettah and Ndılǫ can drop off their completed ballot packages at the Office of the Returning Officer, on the 1st floor of the Deton Cho building in Ndılǫ, or directly to Elections NWT, on the 3rd floor of YK Centre East.

We have hired Additional Assistant Returning Officers (AAROs) in Łutselk’e and Fort Resolution who can respond to any questions electors have in those communities. The AAROs can also pick up the completed ballot package from voters. This will be especially important if a voter doesn’t cast their vote until close to polling day. On February 8th, the AAROs will be bringing to Elections NWT all the completed ballot packages that haven’t been mailed. We encourage any voters who cast their votes after January 28th to consider contacting their AARO on the best way to get it to Elections NWT before February 8th. The AAROs are Jeanette Lockhart (Łutselk’e) and Lorraine Villeneuve (Fort Resolution).

 

How can I be sure my vote will be counted, and won’t be changed?

Ballot packages that have been dropped off at the Returning Office or with one of the Additional Assistant Returning Officers will be couriered directly to Elections NWT.

When a package is received at Elections NWT, the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope will be scanned and entered, and that elector will then be marked as having voted, provided that the envelope was signed and dated by the elector. The envelope will then be opened and the white privacy Absentee Ballot Envelope containing the ballot will be placed in the appropriate poll’s ballot box. This envelope will not be opened until the ballot box is opened for counting after February 8th. That will be the first time anyone will see the ballot since it was marked. This ensures that no one will know how any elector voted.

With regards to oversight of the votes being counted, Candidates may have one polling agent per poll present for the count, we are currently looking into options to live stream the count for any candidates whose polling agents are unable to attend in person.

 

If electors have any questions they can contact the Returning Officer, Amanda Mallon at RO_TuNedheWiilideh@electionsnwt.ca