Memo from CEO (April 6)

Further to my Memorandum of March 18, 2020 postponing election day to June 1, 2020, this memorandum is to give notice of cancellation of the in-person voting at polls on May 23 and on June 1. The other two methods of voting i.e. online voting and telephone voting will become the only methods for electors to vote. The opportunity to vote by these methods is available to all electors. The period during which voting will be accessible will be from 12:01 AM EST, May 5 to 6:00 PM EST time on June 1.

This decision is not made lightly and is made pursuant to authority given the Chief Electoral Officer in Article 44 of the Electoral Code where it is stated that in emergency situations the Chief Electoral Officer "may for the sole purpose of enabling Electors to exercise their right to vote or enabling the counting of votes, adapt any provision of this Code, and in particular, may extend the time for performing any obligation or doing any act under this Code."

This decision is made because with the restrictions on travel and congregating, it still remains impossible to train the election officials to staff the polls. We are unable to determine when these restrictions will be removed. It is also made to ensure that there is no risk to the most vulnerable in the population namely our elders and anyone with underling medical conditions or compromised immune systems. It could be a very long time before these vulnerable citizens could safely attend the polls. This removed the option of a further postponement of the election date. Also, democracy demands that fair and open elections are to be held for defined terms and in this case the four-year terms have expired and any extended postponements would be tenuous.

For the above reasons I made these decisions, recognizing that we have two methods in place to allow every elector the opportunity to vote without being exposed to health risks.

I am cognizant that some citizens may be unfamiliar with navigating the online or telephone voting systems. OneFeather, the third-party contractor engaged to conduct the online and telephone voting has agreed to extend service to handle any extra demand for online and telephone voting occasioned the cancellation of the in person voting. OneFeather has also agreed to engage extra staff if necessary to provide additional assistance via their help line to assist those citizens not comfortable with online and telephone voting.

Yours truly, 

Paul DeVillers
Chief Electoral Officer

 

Posted on April 6, 2020

 

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