April 14, 2016: Writ Period Bulletin for Field Leadership Team

This issue of the Writ Period Bulletin for Field Leadership Team includes detailed information regarding how to complete the final count. The articles include:

  • Preparing for the Final Count;
  • Detailed Instructions for Conducting the Final Count;
  • Supplies Needed for Final Count of Absentee Ballots;
  • Protecting the Secrecy of the Ballot;
  • Make Copies of Notes of Objections Recorded in Poll Books;
  • Forms Needed for Final Count of HRT Ballots;
  • Ensuring the Validity of Certificate Envelopes;
  • Ensuring Ballot Boxes Are Sealed with the Proper Materials;
  • Returning Timesheets, Registration Forms and Correction Forms to Elections SK; and
  • Appendices with Detailed Instructions for Completing Final Count.

Preparing for the Final Count

The returning officer and election clerk must both be present at the final count.  It is also recommended that both the administrative assistant and automation coordinator be present.  The RO can open the ballot boxes with the assistance of another worker. Having two other people work on data entry will also speed up the process and reduce the risk for errors.  One person can observe while the automation coordinator completes the data entry in ESPREE. 

We know that this is the first final count for many members of the FLT. The manual provides some guidance about how to arrange the room and materials. We recommend the following:

 

  • All ballot boxes should be arranged in numerical order by polling division.  Ballot boxes should be counted in the following order:
  1. Regular
  2. Advance
  3. Mobile and Special Polls (if applicable)
  4. Hospital/Remand
  5. Absentee
  6. Homebound
  • Two long tables are usually required to provide the necessary space for handling the ballot boxes, dealing with the necessary forms, allowing for inspection of poll books by candidates if necessary, and allowing the EC to record information.

If you have questions about how an office should be setup, we strongly encourage you to ask your SRO or another experienced returning officer.

Ensuring you have at least four workers present combined with an effectively setup office will go a long way to an efficient and effective final count.

Detailed Instructions for Conducting the Final Count

Detailed instructions are attached in the appendices to this Bulletin that set out the processes to complete the final count for:

  • Regular, Advance, Mobile, and Homebound ballot boxes
  • Hospital/Remand ballot box
  • Absentee ballot box

It is strongly recommended that these instructions be printed out and followed during each stage in the final count.  To provide additional assistance, three training videos were also created. These training videos were updated from the one sent out earlier this week.  The purpose of providing an updated video is to separate all three processes to reduce the risk of any errors.

Three instructional videos outlining the processes and procedures for conducting the final count are being developed by IT. Please contact Son Lu for links to these videos: slu@elections.sk.ca 

Please note that these videos are currently being worked on, and will NOT be ready to watch until later this evening. They will be ready for you to watch before you head to your office the morning of Friday, April 15. You will also receive “cheat sheets” that correspond with these three processes tomorrow.

 

Supplies Needed for Final Count of Absentee Ballots

The supplies needed to count absentee ballots during the final count were sent to you in the first shipment of election supplies. You’ll find the supplies in a white box that’s labelled Absentee Kit.

For a full list of the materials contained in the Absentee Kit, please refer to page 220 of the Returning Officer Training Manual.

Protecting the Secrecy of the Ballot

Protecting the secrecy of the count is critical to the democratic process. Candidates and their representatives must have a signed E-417 to be present at the final count. The candidates or their reps do not need to fill out a new E-417 if they brought the one used on election night.  In addition, everyone who wants to be present for the counting of ballots (e.g., absentee and HRT) must complete an E-311 Oath or Declaration of Secrecy (see attached form).

While the final count must start promptly at 9 am, candidates and their representatives are not required to be present at the start of the final count nor are they required to stay all day. 

Make Copies of Notes of Objections Recorded in Poll Books

Candidate objections may be recorded at the back of each poll book (see the Notes of Objections form in each poll book).  After the final count is completed, the poll book will be sealed in the ballot box and will not be accessible.  Therefore, it is very important for the returning officer to make a copy of all Notes of Objections that have objections as each ballot box is opened at the final count. 

After the conclusion of the final count, scan all Notes of Objections into one document and e-mail to Amanda Sikora at asikora@elections.sk.ca.

Forms Needed for Final Count of HRT Ballots

By now you each should have received ballot boxes from head office containing all of the ballots for Hospital, Remand and Temporarily Displaced voters (HRT) in your respective constituencies. If you have not yet received your HRT ballot box, please contact Bonnie Schenher immediately.

Included in the HRT ballot boxes, Returning Officers will find the following form(s) and envelope to assist in the final count:

  • The E-502 Chief Electoral Officer’s Report Respecting Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Ballot Envelopes Forwarded to Returning Officers

Please note that only those constituencies that conducted hospital and/or remand polls in their constituency will receive this form.

  • The E-503 List of Voters from Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Polls

Please note that every single constituency will receive a copy of this form in the HRT ballot box.

  • The E-504 Envelope, into which the E-502 (if applicable) and E-503 forms will be placed.


 

Ensuring the Validity of Certificate Envelopes

Only valid certificate envelopes can be opened.  

  •  Front of the envelope: E-328 Declaration of Voter envelopes where the voter’s address shows the voter does not reside in the constituency (i.e., ballot was sent to the wrong constituency) must be rejected. Please note that envelopes that lack a “date of birth,” “gender,” and/or “occupation” are STILL VALID under the law;

Front of envelope: Despite this E-328 missing "gender" and "occupation," it would be valid if it was being counted in Regina Elphinstone-Centre.  Even if the “date of birth” was missing, it would still be valid.

  • Back of the envelope: By law, E-328 Declaration of Voter envelopes that do not include the “Signature of Applicant/Voter” are not valid and cannot be opened. Please note that the “Date,” a checked box next to “Identification presented” and the “Signature of Election Official” can be included but are NOT REQUIRED.

Back of the envelope: This E-328 is valid because the "Signature of Applicant/Voter" is provided. Note that "Date," a checked box for "Identification presented," and a "Signature of Election Official" are not required for the E-328 to be valid.

The returning officer must record the number of invalid declaration envelopes and immediately report this to the support desk (select option 3).  When entering in ESPREE, the invalid declaration envelopes should be reported as rejected ballots. 

Candidates or their representation may ask about the opening or not opening of declaration envelopes.  Please advise them of the information contained in this Bulletin and that the decisions on what to open or not open are in compliance with The Election Act, 1996.  Candidates may still raise objections to this process. Any candidate objections must be noted on the attached Notes of Objections form (also see Appendix 4)

Please contact the support desk option 2 if there are issues with candidates or their representatives at the final count.

Ensuring Ballot Boxes Are Sealed with the Proper Materials

Please ensure that only the following forms, envelopes and materials are sealed in each ballot box following the completion of the final count:

  • E-325 Envelope for Election Materials at Close of Poll, which includes:
    • E-321 Envelope to Contain Unused Ballot Papers (Together with stubs of used ballot papers and zip lock bag of counterfoils)
    • E-322 Spoiled or Declined Ballot Papers
    • E-323 Envelope to Contain Rejected Ballots
    • E-325 Envelope to Contain Ballot Cast for Candidates

Please note that each ballot box should contain one E-325 Envelope for each candidate

  • E-417 Appointment of Candidate’s Representative
  • The ballot box’s corresponding poll book, which may be:
    • E-311 Poll Book for regular polls
    • E-317 Poll Book for advance polls
    • E-318 Poll Book for mobile polls
    • E-159A Poll Book for absentee voting
    • E-327 Poll Book for HRT voting (if applicable)
    • E-160HB Poll Book for Homebound voting
  • E-200R Voters List
  • E-315 Envelope, which contains the following:
    • The original copy of E-316 Statement by Deputy Returning Officer Respecting Voters who Made Declarations or were Registered on Election Day
    • E-314 Declaration of Voter
    • Original copies of E-207RP Enumeration/Registration at a Poll


 

Returning Timesheets, Registration Forms and

Correction Forms to Elections SK

Timesheets completed by poll workers and the E-335 Envelope to Contain E-207RP Registration of Voters (Copy) and E-337 Correction Record (Original) should have been included in the Tyvek Envelope on election night, but it’s possible that some may have been sealed in ballot boxes. If you find any of these forms in ballot boxes during the final count, please set them aside. Do NOT seal these forms in the ballot box following the completion of the final count.

All time sheets and the E-335 Envelope to Contain E-207RP Registration of Voters (Copy) and E-337 Correction Record (Original) will need to be returned to Elections SK by placing the E-301, E-302 and E-335 forms in a box labelled ‘E-335 Envelopes’ and return with all other election supplies. If you have any questions regarding these forms, please call the Support Desk at 1-866-249-7186 and select 3.

 

Appendix 1

Process for recording the results of the final count of Regular, Personal Care (Special Polls), Advance, Mobile, and Homebound Votes

The process listed below is used to obtain Official results for the polls that were counted and entered into the unofficial results section of ESPREE on election night. Regular, Personal Care (Special Polls), Advance, Mobile, and Homebound ballot boxes will be opened one-by-one and counted first. Regular polls appear first in ESPREE, therefore it would make the most sense to arrange the ballot boxes with Regular Poll #1 as your first poll to enter.

Before opening the ballot box, make sure that all of the people in attendance sign the E-311W Oath or Declaration of Secrecy, which you’ll find both as an attachment to this Bulletin and in Appendix 5 as well. 

  1. In ESPREE under the Unofficial and Official Results tab, select option #3. Record Official Results
  2. Choose the Poll that you are going to enter results into and press the search button.
  3. Locate the ballot box for Regular Poll #1 and read the seal number placed over the side of the ballot box aloud.
  4. Open the ballot box for poll 1 and locate the E-313 envelope.
  5. Open the E-313 Envelope and remove the E-312 Ballot Paper Account and Poll Statement. If the E-313 Envelope is not in the Ballot box OR the E-312 is not in the E-313 envelope, please call The Support Desk at 1-866-249-7186 and choose option 3.
  6. Remove the E-200R Voters list for reference in the below section.
  7. Have your EC or AC enter the information from the E-312 as it is read aloud into ESPREE
    1. Verify that the Number of ballots cast for each candidate listed in Section 1 of the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
    2. Verify that the number of rejected ballots listed in Section 2 the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
    3. Confirm the number of unused Ballot papers (Form A) from section 8 of the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
    4. Confirm the number of Ballot papers spoiled or declined (Form A) from section 9 of the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
    5. Confirm that the number of ballots unaccounted for listed in Section 10 of the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
    6. Confirm the number of names on the Voters list.
      1. Check the Voters list for any additions to the poll.
      2. If there are no additions, confirm that the number in ESPREE is what is written on the E-312, if not, update the E-312 form with the number from ESPREE. Initial the E-312 once updated.
  • If there are any additions, add this number to the number in ESPREE for a new total. Update the new total in ESPREE and on the E-312. Initial the E-312 once updated.
  1. For Advance Polls you will not have a number to enter, please enter the number of ballots given to the Deputy RO in this field in ESPREE.
  1. Verify that the number of Ballot Papers (Form A) Supplied to Deputy RO in Section 11 of the E-312 is the same as listed in ESPREE
  2. Confirm that the number of voters Appearing in the Poll Book as having voted in section 7 of the E-312 is the same as the number listed in ESPREE
  3. Confirm that the number of voters who made a declaration appearing in the Poll Book as Voted in section 5 of the E-312 is the same as the number listed in ESPREE.
  4. Confirm that the number of voters who did not make a declaration appearing in the Poll Book as voted in section 4 of the E-312 form is the same as the number listed in ESPREE.
  1. Allow those persons present to inspect the E-311 Poll Book (E-317 for Advance, E-318 for Mobile, or E-160HB for Homebound) as well as the E-200R Voters list.
  2. DO NOT TOUCH THE BALLOTS
  3. Replace all of the materials into the Ballot Box. Below is a list of the materials that should be in the Ballot box before it is sealed:
    1. The E-325 Envelope
    2. The applicable Poll Book (See above for a list of numbers)
    3. The E-200R Voters List
    4. The E-315 Envelope
    5. The E-312 should be returned to the E-313 Envelope and placed back in the Ballot Box
  4. All E-335 Envelopes that contain a copy of the E-207RP and originals of the E-337 Correction forms should be removed from the Tyvek envelope or the Ballot box at this time. The E-335 Envelope needs to be placed in a box labeled E-335 Envelopes for easy sorting when materials are returned to Elections SK.
  5. Seal the ballot box with an official E-334 seal and record the number of the seal in the remarks section in ESPREE. Allow Candidates or their representatives to also record the seal number.
  6. Continue on with the process until all of the Regular, Advance, Mobile, S Polls, and Homebound Polls are entered into ESPREE.

 

 

Appendix 2

Process for recording the results of the final count of HRT (Hospital, Remand or Temporarily Displaced Voter) ballot box

You will belong to one of two groups for this process. Please see the explanation of groupings and follow the processes for YOUR group.

You belong in Group A if you had a hospital or Remand Poll in your constituency.

You belong in Group B if you did not have a hospital or remand poll in your constituency.

Processes for Group A

  1. Locate the HRT ballot box sent to you from ESK. Read aloud the seal number that covers the side of the box.
  2. Open the HRT Ballot Box and remove the E-143-E-147 Envelopes. Also Remove the E-320 Tally Sheets and the extra E-344 Official Seals.
  3. Remove the E-504 Envelope
  4. Follow the process as listed on Page 215 and 216 of the RO Manual. You will be able to follow all steps from 1-11 completely. Steps 12 to 14 talk about making manual entries on the E-148 and E-148S, but these results will be captured in ESPREE and there is no paper copy to fill out.
  5. NOTE: Step 1 on Page 215 states that the Candidate can examine the E-503 and make a copy, but they cannot make a copy of this list.
  6. To record information in ESPREE make sure you are in the Poll that is listed as HRT. DO NOT ENTER INFORMATION IN PREVIOUSLY INCLUDED HOSPITAL OR REMAND POLLS.
  7. Enter the number of ballots cast for candidates into ESPREE by using the totals listed on the E-146 Counted Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Ballots
  8. Enter the number of Rejected Ballots into ESPREE using the total written on the E-145 Rejected Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Ballots
  9. The total number of names on the voters list will equal the total number of names on the E-503.
  10. The No. of Ballot Papers (Form B) Supplied to Deputy RO will also equal the number of names on the E-503
  11. The No. of Voters Appearing in the Poll Book as having voted and residing in this Constituency (hospital, remand centre and temporarily displaced voters) section in ESPREE will be found on the E-502 front page.
  12. The No. Voters appearing in the Poll Book as Having Voted and Residing in another Constituency (hospital, remand centre and temporarily displaced voters) section in ESPREE will be found on the last page of the E-502.
  13. Place Envelopes E-143, E-144, E-145 and E-146 into the E-147 Envelope. Place the E-147 Envelope into the ballot box.
  14. Seal the Ballot Box and record the E-334 Official Seal number in the remarks section in ESPREE.

Processes for Group B

  1. Locate the HRT ballot box sent to you from ESK. Read aloud the seal number that covers the side of the box.
  2. Open the HRT Ballot Box and remove the E-143-E-147 Envelopes. Also Remove the E-320 Tally Sheets and the extra E-344 Official Seals.
  3. Remove the E-504 Envelope
  4. Follow the process as listed on Page 215 and 216 of the RO Manual. You will be able to follow all steps from 1-11 completely. Steps 12 to 14 talk about making manual entries on the E-148 and E-148S, but these results will be captured in ESPREE and there is no paper copy to fill out.
  5. NOTE: Step 1 on Page 215 states that the Candidate can examine the E-503 and make a copy, but they cannot make a copy of this list.
  6. Before you record any information into ESPREE please ensure that you are in the poll listed as HRT
  7. Enter the number of ballots cast for candidates into ESPREE by using the totals listed on the E-146 Counted Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Ballots
  8. Enter the number of Rejected Ballots into ESPREE using the total written on the E-145 Rejected Hospital, Remand Centre and Temporarily Displaced Voter Ballots
  9. The total number of names on the voters list will equal the total number of names on the E-503.
  10. The No. of Ballot Papers (Form B) Supplied to Deputy RO will also equal the number of names on the E-503
  11. You will not be able to enter any information into the Sections titled No. Voters Appearing in Poll Book as Having Voted and Residing in this constituency or into the No. Voters appearing in the Poll Book as having voted Residing in another constituency as you do not have an E-502 because your constituency did not run a hospital or remand centre poll.
  12. Place Envelopes E-143, E-144, E-145 and E-146 into the E-147 Envelope. Place the E-147 Envelope into the ballot box.
  13. Seal the Ballot Box and record the E-334 Official Seal number in the remarks section in ESPREE.

 

Appendix 3

Process for recording the results of the final count of Absentee ballot box

The process to enter the Absentee poll results into ESPREE is different that the process used to enter Regular, Advance, Mobile and S-Poll results. Absentee polls use a different type of ballot paper (Form B) and they also contain a certificate envelope and a ballot envelope.

By following the steps listed below, you will accurately count absentee ballots and record results in the Absentee Poll in ESPREE.

  1. After following all of the procedural steps listed on pages 211-213 in your RO Manual you will have a completed E-135A Statement of Absentee Ballots Mailed or Delivered to the Returning Officer which is found in the E-159A Poll Book Absentee Voters.
  2. Before sealing up the poll book and all other materials, you will need to fill out the Absentee poll information in ESPREE.
  3. Make certain that you are in the Poll ABS001 ABSENTEE in ESPREE
  4. Using the top section of the E-135A enter the number of ballots cast for each candidate in ESPREE
  5. Enter the number of rejected ballots into the appropriate space in ESPREE. Please note: the number of rejected ballots is equal to all ballots that were not counted for any reason. You may have ballots that were rejected before opening the certificate envelope as well as ballots that were rejected during the count. Please add these numbers together and place this total in the reject ballot field in ESPREE. On a separate piece of paper, please make note of the ballots that were rejected before opening and the ballots that were rejected during the count.
  6. Enter the total of unused ballots (Form B) from the E-135A into ESPREE
  7. Enter the number of ballot papers spoiled or declined (from B) into ESPREE
  8. Enter the Number of ballot papers not returned in the No Ballots Unaccounted for (if any) section in ESPREE
  9. The total number of names on the voters list will be the total number of Absentee applications received as listed in the E-159A poll Book.
  10. The No. of Ballot Papers (Form B) Supplied to Deputy RO will be found on the E-135A. Please enter this number in ESPREE.
  11. Enter the number of voters who voted in the last line of ESPREE “No. Voters Who Voted Under Sections 86 to 89”
  12. Before sealing the ballot box, write the number of the seals that will be used to seal the ballot box in the E-135A.
  13. Place the E-159A Poll Book along with the E-142A Envelope in the ballot box. Seal the ballot box and record the number of the seals in the remarks section in ESPREE.

Appendix 4

Please see .pdf.