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Unlawful Behaviour



Election laws exist to ensure fairness and accountability and must be applied to everyone equally with no exceptions. Elections NWT expects all candidates, Official Agents, campaign workers, and electors to behave respectfully and lawfully. 

Make sure you know the rules and contact the Chief Electoral Officer immediately if circumstances beyond your control may prevent you from complying with any part of the Act.

Penalties for election offences

General Offence

  • fine of up to $2,000, or
  • up to 6 months in prison, or
  • both

Major Offence

  • fine of up to $5,000, or
  • up to 1 year in prison, or
  • both

Additionally, anyone convicted of a major election offence:

  • cannot be elected to the Legislative Assembly;
  • sit as a member of the Legislative Assembly;
  • vote in a territorial election; or
  • hold any office appointed by the Commissioner or the Legislative Assembly

for five years starting the day after their conviction

Most common election offences:

General Offence:

  • vandalizing campaign signage;
  • using, wearing, or displaying campaign material or messages inside a polling station (includes buttons, “swag”, etc.);
  • using a cell phone in a polling station;
  • campaigning or displaying campaign materials within 25 metres of a polling station.

Major Offence:

  • declaring who you voted for while inside a polling station;
  • showing a marked ballot to any person (i.e. posting a photo of a ballot online);
  • failing to deliver a complete and/or accurate Candidate’s Financial Report.


If a person believes that someone has broken an election law, a written complaint may be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer.

The Chief Electoral Officer will review all written complaints and decide if an investigation is warranted based on the evidence provided.

A written complaint must be submitted within 6 months after the day on which the offence is alleged to have occurred.

How to File a Complaint

When filing a complaint, be sure to include:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and (if applicable) your email address;
  • a factual description of the matter including dates, circumstances, and the actions or inactions that you believe may be an offence;
  • the section of the Elections and Plebiscites Act that you believe has been violated; and
  • copies of any documents you believe to be relevant.

Submitting by Regular Mail:

Send the written complaint and copies of all documentation to:

The Chief Electoral Officer of the NWT
#7, 4915 – 48th Street
Yellowknife, NT X1A 3S4

Submitting by Email:

Attach the written complaint and electronic copies of all documentation to:

Don’t forget to include a title relating to the nature of the complaint in the subject line of the email.