Report on Municipal Election
To: Council of the Municipality of the County of Inverness
From: Dernie Gillis, Chief Returning Officer for the Municipality of the County of Inverness
Date: November 19, 2020
Re: Report on Municipal Election for the Municipality of the County of Inverness, held October 17, 2020
I begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to Keith MacDonald, CAO, Tanya Tibbo, Director of Finance, and their very competent and extremely generous staff for their guidance and support during the election. Thank you.
The election itself, as I see it, has three main components: 1. The Electorate; 2. Competent Poll Workers; 3. Suitable Venues in which to work.
This year we had a notable opponent in COVID-19, which threatened to destabilize our election. How we addressed that was all important as well.
The “Electorate” is contained in the preliminary list, as was supplied to us, and updated to June 30th, 2020 by Elections Nova Scotia (“ENS”). From that list we may create a revised list for our use. We cannot alter the preliminary list.
The revised list is graded by the number of voters who are added on Election Day. In our case, 60% or 6,600 total cast their ballots. This is an increase of 10% over previous years. Of that total, 215 were added on election day, or 3.3% of the total vote. These names are then attached to the preliminary list and returned to ENS.
At the provincial Returning Officer meeting on November 9, 2020, many asked the following question:
Why were there so many discrepancies in the preliminary list of electors provided by ENS?
- The Federal revised List was received by ENS in July, after our list was updated.
- Insufficient information received to warrant adding or removing electorate.
Electronic voting (e-voting) was implemented this year to help reduce traffic on October 17, 2020, Election Day. Records will show that this was accomplished by approximately 50%.
We still had to gain the confidence of our communities and assure them that it would be safe to come out to vote and/or work. The Electorate, polling day workers and venue operators were receptive providing we follow Provincial Health Protocols, including (1) Maximum number in venue at one time; (2) Social distancing; (3) Hand and venue sanitizing during the day; (4) One way traffic in and out. In addition, venues were rented for two days, Friday, October 16, 2020 for setup and Saturday, October 17, 2020 for Election Day.
RESULT: 131 Polling day workers were confirmed over 5 Districts, plus one Poll from District #2, for a total of 34 venues, housing a total of 42 Polls. Once we reached this milestone, early to mid September 2020, I felt confident we could do this. We just had to execute.
What followed were Seven training sessions, where workers were briefed on how to run a successful Election, during Covid-19. All materials required were provided during these sessions. Again, thanks to Municipal staff for tracking, purchasing and delivering on these supplies. In addition, A DRO/PC Election Day manual was included.
The daily rate for DRO’s was set at $175.00, while the PC and Guides/Sanitizers received $150.00. The hourly rate was $16.00.
From all reports, the election was a success. No one got sick and from a field of 19 candidates, the people elected or acclaimed 6 Councillors plus two French School Board Representatives (CSAP).
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