On Dec. 21, Maxwell Harvey, the chief electoral officer for the Yukon, submitted a 16-page report in the legislature providing an update on election readiness in the territory. (Yukon News file)

On Dec. 21, Maxwell Harvey, the chief electoral officer for the Yukon, submitted a 16-page report in the legislature providing an update on election readiness in the territory. (Yukon News file)

Elections Yukon preps for territorial vote

Election must be called by Nov. 18, 2021

As the territory heads into an election year, officials with Elections Yukon say preparations are continuing to be ready for the vote.

An election must be called before Nov. 18, 2021.

On Dec. 21, Maxwell Harvey, the chief electoral officer for the Yukon, submitted a 16-page report in the legislature providing an update on election readiness.

“Since the previous territorial election in 2016, there have been some important changes to election legislation, processes and technical modernization that will continue to evolve electoral services for the elector,” Harvey said in a statement. “Our work is focused on your right to vote and be a candidate, safe and secure election delivery, and our mandate to administer fair, compliant and impartial elections. This report provides an overview at some of the ongoing work of electoral readiness to deliver on the democratic process of elections.”

The report details changes since the 2016 territorial elections as well as the challenges, opportunities and activities happening in electoral readiness looking ahead to the 2021 vote.

“The operational context has an additional 4,000 registered electors, new registration and special ballot processes, new procedures and increased staffing requirements to address COVID-19 contingencies,” the report reads. “With it are considerable technology, material and training readiness requirements.”

The report notes that Elections Yukon is looking towards a readiness election date as early as the spring of 2021. If the 2021 election sees 76.4 per cent voter turnout, it will mean a total of 22,920 people voting, the report said.

“Electoral planning and administration requirements, as well as time and capacity demands, are increased as the electorate is expected to be almost 20 per cent larger than in 2016,” it’s noted in the report.

“In addition to the increased numbers that are expected to turn out to vote in 2021, the options by which they choose to vote is also expected to change. There will be increased use of special ballots, and although a higher elector turnout at advance polls and polling day is expected, the overall percentage of in-person voting will likely decline.”

The report also acknowledges the reality of COVID-19, noting that contingency planning for a vote around the pandemic has required “tremendous diversion of effort”.

That started with the decision to postpone school council elections in May with the vote going ahead in the fall.

That process triggered a review of legislation, alternate planning processes and safety measures in place. It also included expanded mail-in ballot options.

“This work has provided valuable lessons learned which support territorial election planning,” the report reads. “With it are subsequent modifications to processes, increased staff requirements at the polls, planning for the requirements and distribution of personal protective equipment and other materials, and realigned training, contingency planning, and public outreach.”

Recruiting workers for elections continues to be a challenge that could be exacerbated by the pandemic or post-pandemic situations in limiting the availability of workers who may be vulnerable or concerned about COVID-19.

“Larger and additional venues are required to support physical distancing,” the report states. “In addition, up to 100 extra workers will be required to support polling place traffic control, sanitization stations, and station cleanliness. Dependent on pandemic scenarios, as part of various COVID-19 related scenarios, processes may require adaptation to ensure integrity and access to the electoral process.”

The report concludes by noting the support of the territory’s legislative assembly “is integral to readiness” for the election.

“Elections Yukon appreciates the continued support of the Legislative Assembly and Members’ Services Board,” it’s noted. “The work for electoral readiness and service continues.”

The full report is available on the Elections Yukon website.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read