Update: January 28, 2022 – 18:04 MT. This story has been updated to reflect an extension in the the deadline for eligible voters to register for a ballot.
The deadline for eligible voters to register for a ballot in the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh by-election has been extended to Friday, February 4 at noon.
Voters initially needed to register before Saturday, January 29. Elections NWT announced the extension in an update on its Facebook page Friday afternoon.
Any ballot applications made after January 31, will be sent to the appropriate community election officer by the afternoon of February 4. They will then contact voters to arrange a time to pick up their ballots.
Friday’s update also outlined how ballot errors will be handled.
Ballots with errors
For minor errors – like listing the electoral district instead instead of the community name, not including the community, listing the month as a number instead of writing it out, and putting the wrong date or not including the date – ballots will not be rejected.
Ballots that are missing a signature, or have any alteration to the voter identification or name as listed by Elections NWT, however, will be rejected.
According to a report by CBC, 10 percent of the 130 ballot packages received by Elections NWT by Friday did not have a signature, while 15 percent had minor errors.
This is the first time a territorial-level election has been held by mail-in ballot only. The decision was made as a pandemic safety measure.
Instructions on how to fill out the ballot are included in the package or can be found on Elections NWT’s website.
For ballots with major errors that are received by Elections NWT before February 4, staff will “make their best efforts” to contact voters and give them the opportunity to address the error.
Voters can contact Elections NWT at (844) 767- 9100 to determine if their ballot contains any major errors that warrant a rejection.
How to submit a ballot
Ballot packages were sent to registered voters on January 17. Anyone who is on the voters list who has not yet received a ballot should contact Elections NWT.
Ballot packages sent after January 31, or those returned to a voter for correction, should be submitted to an election officer or through a community ballot drop box.
Elections NWT recommends that voters planning to mail their ballot – rather than submit it in-person to the returning officer, additional assistant returning officers, or the Elections NWT office – do so by Friday, January 28.
Voters in Dettah and Ndilǫ can drop off ballot packages in-person to the returning officer on the first floor of the Det’on Cho building in Ndilǫ, or to Elections NWT on the third floor of the YK Centre East building in Yellowknife.
In Łutsël K’é and Fort Resolution, voters can arrange for an additional assistant returning officer to pick up their ballot, or drop it off at a designated ballot box.
In Łutsël K’é , the additional assistant returning officer is Jeanette Lockhart and the drop box is located at the Co-op store. Lorraine Villeneuve is the additional returning officer in Fort Resolution, and the ballot box is located at the Northern Store.
Ballots must be received by Elections NWT on February 8 at 8pm for both mail-in ballots and drop-off submissions.
A by-election is being held because former MLA Steve Norn’s seat was declared vacant in November.