QUEBEC CITY, Nov. 1, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - In the wake of the advance poll last Sunday, which featured high voter turnout in certain Québec municipalities, the Chief Electoral Officer has used the special powers conferred upon him by law to allow, under certain conditions, counting of advance poll ballots to start at 6:00 p.m. on November 3, 2013. We should recall that under the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM), vote counting must begin at 8:00 p.m. after polling stations close. In cases where one or several ballot boxes used during the advance poll contain more than 300 ballots, the returning officer may, when appropriate, allow vote counting to begin two hours earlier. This reduces the wait for final results of elections.
However, in order to protect against an early disclosure of results, returning officers must take the necessary steps to ensure that vote counters do not have any contact with the outside world before polls close at 8:00 p.m. To do so, they must choose a location that allows for vote counting to take place behind closed doors and take steps to ensure that those present do not use mobile devices or any other means of communication. All those assigned to the vote count will also take an oath pledging not to communicate the results of the advance poll to anyone before 8:00 p.m.
Under the AERM, the Chief Electoral Officer may, under exceptional circumstances, adapt a provision of the Act if the situation warrants it, and he is using this power to authorize an early counting of advance poll ballots on November 3.
By contacting the municipality's returning officer, it is possible to find out whether he or she intends to take advantage of the possibility being offered by the Chief Electoral Officer.
SOURCE: Directeur général des élections
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