As promised in the last issue of the Nation, we have included all the text of the newly adopted elections by-law. These are the new rules by which we will be choosing our Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief
Subject: CRA BY-LAW No. 28
WHEREAS the Members at an Annual General Assembly of the Cree Regional Authority held pursuant and in accordance with the Act Respecting the Cree Regional Authority, R.S.Q., Chapter A-6.1 adopted Annual General Assembly Resolution 2004-09 on August 20th, 2004 in Wemindji;
WHEREAS the Members of the fore mentioned Annual General Assembly wished to amend the election regulations of the Cree Regional Authority to update said regulations so that they reflect the evolution of the Cree electorate and based on the recommendations of the duly named Returning Officer, Mr. John Henry Wapachee;
WHEREAS the Members of the aforementioned Annual General Assembly have further specifically requested that amendments be sought to the Act Respecting the Cree Regional Authority, R.S.Q., Chapter A-6.1 to extend the terms of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman to a period of four (4) years and to require run-off elections to ensure that future Chairman and Vice-Chairman retain a majority support from the Cree electorate;
WHEREAS the Council of the Cree Regional Authority has duly considered Resolution 2004-09 of the Annual General Assembly and agrees with its content and the recommendations of the Returning Officer upon which the Annual General Assembly Resolution is based and adopted By-Law No. 28 to repeal and replace the election provisions of By-Law No. 27;
WHEREAS the Cree Regional Authority Act has been amended by the Government of Quebec in accordance with By-Law No. 28.
IT IS RESOLVED:
THAT the members of the 2005 Annual General Assembly of the Cree Regional Authority hereby take recognition of the adoption of By-Law No. 28 a copy of which is attached hereto;
CREE REGIONAL AUTHORITY
ADMINISTRATION REGIONALE CRIE
BY-LAW NO. 28 ELECTION REGULATIONS GENERAL
1. When an Election is to be held in accordance with the Act for the positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman or representatives of the Cree communities on the Council, the Returning Officer shall inform the communities using all reasonable means of the holding of such elections, indicating the date, the time and place where the election shall be held, the purposes of the election and any other information required by these regulations. Election of representatives on the Council
2. The Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Council and the representatives of the Cree village corporations are elected from among the members of the age of majority of such corporations, hereinafter referred to as the Voters,” the “electors” or the “electorate by secret ballot in which such members participate.
3. The elections of the representatives of the Cree Village Corporations are held in every corporation in the manner prescribed in the by-law of the council of every such Cree village corporation.
Application of these Procedures
4. The following procedures shall apply specifically to the election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman. They shall also apply to the election of representatives of the Cree communities only to the extent that there is no conflict with the appropriate election by-laws of the community in which these elections are to be held. In the event of such conflict, the provisions of the said local by-law shall apply to the said elections.
Nomination Procedures for Chairman and Vice Chairman
5. In order for a person to be eligible for election as Chairman or Vice Chairman, he or she must be an eligible voter and nominated in writing by any ten (10) other eligible voters indicating that they wish the individual to be a candidate for the office.
6. Such nomination forms shall be witnessed and shall be deposited with the Returning Officer on the date indicated by him for the deposit of such forms.
7. For each election, an eligible voter may sign only one (1) nomination form for a candidate for the office of Chairman and one for Vice Chairman.
8. A candidate must expressly inform the Returning Officer within the time period determined by the Returning Officer whether he accepts the nomination for the position, otherwise his name shall be deleted from the list of candidates. The Returning Officer shall use reasonable efforts to contact the candidates to ascertain their decision.
Preparations for the Election
9. The Returning Officer shall be responsible for the printing of ballots, the making of arrangement for a suitable location or locations to hold the election poll either within or outside the Cree communities, the making of arrangements for sending and receiving mail-in-ballots and the obtaining of ballot boxes in accordance with the following procedures. He shall also deal with and decide upon all other matters with respect to elections which may not be specifically dealt with herein.
10. The Returning Officer shall cause to be printed a sufficient number of ballots for the poll to be conducted
11. Such Ballots shall be in the form of the ballot at Schedule I and shall show the candidates for each office in alphabetical order as determined by the Returning Officer. No identification other than the candidates’ proper names, and, if applicable, the name by which they are commonly known in the community, shall be shown on the ballot. The ballots shall be numbered consecutively and shall be identical, except for the ballot number.
12. The Returning Officer shall ensure that as many ballot boxes as are necessary for the conduct of the election are obtained. Each ballot box shall be constructed of durable material and shall be furnished with a lock to enclose its contents. It must be so construed so that ballots can be deposited therein but cannot be withdrawn without unlocking the box. Each ballot box shall remain locked until the counting of the votes takes place.
13. The Returning Officer shall secure a suitable location for a polling station in each of the communities of Chisasibi, Eastmain, Mistissini, Nemaska, Ouje-Bougoumou, Val D’Or, Washa Sibi, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji and Whapmagoostui located within the JBNQA Territory, and may establish a polling station in any other place within the province of Quebec (including Ottawa) where the GCC(EI)-CRA maintains offices. No campaign material or activity on behalf of any of the candidates shall be permitted on the day of the election or at an advance poll within or in the vicinity of these locations.
14. The Returning Officer shall ensure that at each such location, there is a compartment provided for the voters for the purposes of marking their ballot in secrecy. No person other than the voter shall be allowed to enter such compartment or be in a position from which he can see for whom the voter marks his ballot except as prescribed in these Regulations.
15. The Returning Officer shall also procure an adequate number of similar pens for the voters to mark their ballot.
16. Where an elector requests, the Returning Officer may, in the presence of at least one ( 1 ) scrutineer, and either an interpreter or at least one ( 1 ) other person of his choice, assist him in marking his ballot and answer such questions as the elector may have in this regard. However, in performing such duties, no Returning Officer, scrutineer, interpreter or such other person shall attempt to influence a voter in his selection of a candidate.
17. The hours of voting shall be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. However, the Returning Officer may direct that any poll open earlier than 8:00 a.m. but not earlier than 6:00 a.m., if he considers it expedient to do so and may close at a later time.
18. The Returning Officer shall be responsible for ensuring that order is maintained at the poll and may request the assistance of a peace officer in order to ensure that the poll is peaceably conducted.
19. No person shall cause or attempt to cause any disturbance at a poll or interfere or attempt to interfere with the counting of votes.
20. Every elector shall be eligible to vote at an election and shall do so by marking the appropriate place on the ballot provided for such purpose with any mark. Such ballot shall have been previously initialed by the Returning Officer.
21. The Returning Officer shall take the ballot once it has been marked and folded by the elector so that the vote on the ballot cannot be seen, shall verify that it is the ballot which he gave to the elector, and shall request the elector to deposit it in the ballot box.
22. The Returning Officer shall enter on a list the name of each elector who has voted at his poll and shall keep such list with the ballot boxes under his care until the end of the time fixed for voting.
23. Any ballot inadvertently damaged by an elector shall be replaced by the Returning Officer and any ballot taken by an elector but not used shall be marked by the Returning Officer with the word “spoiled”. All spoiled ballots shall be placed in the ballot box forthwith once they have been remitted to him by an elector.
24. When the time fixed for voting has ended, the Returning Officer shall deposit the list described above, a list indicating the number of all ballots used in the poll, the number of all spoiled ballots, the number of all unused ballots, and the number of all other ballots placed in the ballot box, and shall keep same safeguarded until the ballots are to be counted.
25. The Returning Officer shall not divulge any information received by him with respect to the conduct of the election or the performance of his duties and shall take the following oath of secrecy: “I, swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will not reveal or make known, without being authorized therefore by law, anything whatsoever of which I have taken cognizance in the performance of my duties and affirm that I know of no reason why I cannot act as Returning Officer.”
Delay or Extension of the Vote
26. In the case of extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Returning Officer, the Returning Officer may declare that the election will not be held or will not be concluded at the time provided, and shall be delayed for a period not exceeding seven (7) days or that any poll will remain open after the hours fixed for voting. In such a case, the provisions herein shall apply to the extent possible to such election.
27. Where the Returning Officer determines that the regulations respecting the voting procedures, in particular articles 12 to 19, have not been respected at a particular polling station in a manner as to potentially interfere with the election results, the Returning Officer may declare the results of that particular polling station null and void and call for a new polling date for that location as soon as practicably possible. The validity of the election results at other polling stations are not affected, however these results may not be released by the Returning Officer until such time as the vote at re-scheduled polling station has been completed Advance Polls
28. The Returning Officer may provide that advance polls be held with respect to an election.
29. All such polls shall be held under the supervision of the Returning Officer and shall take place prior to the holding of the principal poll.
30. Advance polls may be held within or outside the communities no earlier than seven days preceding the voting day. They shall be held between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on such day, although the Returning Officer has the discretion to extend the hours in appropriate circumstances.
31. Eligible electors who will not be present on the day of the election in one of the communities in which a polling station will be open, and who cannot avail themselves of an advance poll, may request to vote through a mail-in ballot. The Returning Officer shall indicate in the notice of election described at article I at what dates and how members of the electorate may apply for a mail-in-ballot.
32. Upon receiving a duly completed and signed application at least fifteen (15) days prior to the established date for the election, and after verification of the eligibility of the applicant as an elector, the Returning Officer shall enter the name of the elector on a special register and shall send the elector a mail-in-ballot, an inner envelope, an outer envelope, and instructions as to how to cast the ballot by mail.
33. The Returning Officer shall ensure that the Special Register of those Electors who have requested to vote by mail-in-ballot and to whom a mail-in-ballot has been sent is available at every polling station that is established pursuant to articles 13 and 28 to 30 in order to ensure that only one ballot per elector is used. Any elector to whom a mail-in ballot has been sent by the Returning Officer is no longer eligible to vote at any of the polling stations on the day of the election, and may only exercise his or her vote through the mail-in ballot.
34. The Returning Officer shall place all mail-in ballots received in a special ballot box to be counted on the day of the election immediately after the time fixed for the closing of the regular polls has ended. Any mail-in-ballots received by the Returning Officer after this period shall be deemed null and void and unused, and shall be destroyed forthwith by the Returning Officer. The elector has the responsibility to ensure that a) his or her application for registration to the mail-in-ballot is made and received within the timeframe specified by the Returning Officer, and b) that the mail-in ballot is received by the Returning Officer prior the close of regular polls on the day of the election.
Attestation of the Vote
35. Any candidate may appoint in writing one (1) scrutineer, to represent him during the counting of the votes and one (1) scrutineer, to sit with the Returning Officer at a poll during the time fixed for voting. All scrutineers appointed by a candidate must be electors of the age of majority.
36. The Returning Officer, in the presence of any scrutineers appointed by the candidates, shall attend to the counting of the ballots after the time fixed for the holding of the votes has ended, at the time and at the place indicated by him.
37. In counting the ballots, he shall reject;
a) every ballot which has not been supplied by him;
b) every ballot upon which there appears more than one vote;
c) every ballot which has not been initialed by himself or a local Returning Officer;
d) every ballot upon which there is a mark or writing by which the voter could be identified; and
e) every ballot left blank or which is null owing to the intention of the voter not being clearly shown.
38. An official election report shall be prepared for the Returning Officer of the results of the election showing the number of votes cast for each candidate, the number of unused ballots, and the number of spoiled or rejected ballots. He shall sign such report and shall request all scrutineers to do the same. Each type of ballot shall be put into separate containers.
39. The Returning Officer shall forthwith declare the persons elected to office after the counting of the ballots.
40. If the difference between the number of votes cast for the candidate with the most votes and the number cast for any other candidate is less than 1% of the votes cast and upon the written request of one of the candidates the Returning Officer may hold a recount within five (5) days after the declaration pursuant to article 39.
41. The Returning Officer shall apply the regular ballot counting procedure to the recount in the presence of any scrutineers appointed by each candidate for such purpose and subject to the results of the recount issue an amending declaration.
42. Should no candidate have received fifty per cent (50%) or more of the ballots cast (excluding the spoiled or rejected ballots) for an elected officer, the Returning Officer shall list the names of the two (2) candidates who received the most ballots for that officer. He shall inform each such two (2) candidates of the results of the vote and shall call a run-off election for that officer between these two (2) candidates.
43. Should the candidate who received the second most ballots cast decline to participate in the run-off election, the Returning Officer shall ask the candidate who received the third most ballots for that officer if he or she wishes to participate in the run-off election. If this candidate accepts, the Returning Officer shall call a run-off election for that officer between this candidate and the candidate who received the most ballots. If this candidate however also declines to participate in the run-off election, the Returning Officer shall in such circumstances declare the candidate who received the most ballots elected for that officer.
44. The run-off election shall be held within thirty (30) days of the first election at the date determined by the Returning Officer. The procedures for this run-off election shall be the same as those described in the By-Law except that the electoral list shall be the same as for the first election and no additional candidates shall be accepted.
Appointment: of Local Electoral Officers
45. The Returning Officer may appoint one (1) or more Local Electoral Officers to assist him in the carrying out of his duties.
46. The following persons may not be appointed as Local Electoral Officers:
b) persons found guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than two (2) years or found guilty of an offence under the electoral laws of Eeyou Istchee, Canada or Quebec; or
c) a candidate or an individual who is directly related to a candidate in the election (parent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, nephew or niece).
47. The Local Electoral Officer shall take the oath of office prescribed for the Returning Officer above.
48. The Local Electoral Officer shall, subject to the direction and supervision of the Returning Officer, carry out the duties of the Returning Officer at the poll in which he is located and be subject to the same obligations of the Returning Officer in regard to these Regulations.
49. The Local Returning Officer shall be paid such remuneration as determined from time to time by the Council.