Elections P.E.I. looking to fill 6 vacancies for returning officers

·2 min read
'So we like to be as transparent and non-partisan as we can with everything we do at elections,' says Paul Alan, operations manager of Elections P.E.I. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)
'So we like to be as transparent and non-partisan as we can with everything we do at elections,' says Paul Alan, operations manager of Elections P.E.I. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)

Elections P.E.I. is looking to hire six new district returning officers — the officials in charge of overseeing elections in each of the province's 27 districts.

This is the first time positions have been filled since changes were implemented in the Election Act this spring.

Returning officers used to be appointed by cabinet, but will now be appointed by the chief electoral officer — a change that had been called for for years.

"It makes a fair and open competition for all workers involved. And it takes the party politics right out of the election process," said Paul Alan, operations manager of Election P.E.I.

Alan said although there hasn't been a case of politics interfering with past appointments, a competitive hiring process is the best option.

We bring them up to speed with the Election Act, what their responsibilities are, and what our procedures and processes are. — Paul Alan, Elections P.E.I.

"Perception is everything. So we like to be as transparent and non-partisan as we can with everything we do at elections," he said.

"We'd like to receive all applications by August 20th so that we can start to sift through the applicants and start the interview process," Alan said.

Alan said vacancies for the positions were gradually increasing since the last federal election.

"Some became vacant right away when people decided that this was going to be their last election, that they wanted to do other things with their life."

For successful candidates who are not election savvy, there will be training, he said.

"We bring them up to speed with the Election Act, what their responsibilities are, and what our procedures and processes are."

Returning officers will now be allowed to vote in elections, another change stemming from amendments to the Election Act.

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