Terminology

A

 Acclamation

A candidate wins by acclamation when they’re the only candidate in their constituency. Nobody votes.

 Advance vote

A way to vote before Election Day. You vote at the polling station, 7 days before Election Day, any time from 12 noon to 7 p.m. local time.

 Affected area or plebiscite area

Plebiscite term The geographic area where the plebiscite takes place and has influence. May be Nunavut-wide, a municipality, or other defined area. The writ identifies the affected area.

 Affected voters or eligible voters

Plebiscite term The people within the affected area who are eligible to vote in the plebiscite. For most plebiscites, this is anyone eligible to vote in an election for Members of the Legislative Assembly. For some plebiscites, the plebiscite authority may need or want other groups of Nunavummiut to vote. The writ identifies eligible voters, including any special conditions.

 Affirm

To formally promise that something is true. To promise to do something. The most serious promise a person can make. If you break this promise, it’s the same as breaking the law. Similar to declaration, oath, or swear.

 Assistant Returning Officer (ARO)

The Returning Officer hires one or more Assistant Returning Officers for their constituency. The Assistant Returning Officer can accept declarations of candidacy, and helps the Returning Officer with all other work during the election period.

 Authorized representative

Plebiscite term

The person appointed or designated to represent a group of petitioners, the plebiscite authority, or a registered group.

B

 Ballot

The official paper we use to mark our vote. It lists the candidates’ names in alphabetical order.

 Binding

Plebiscite term

A plebiscite is binding when the plebiscite authority must follow the results. The writ states if the plebiscite is binding or not. A plebiscite about a municipal borrowing by-law is always binding.

 By-election

An election in only one constituency. It happens after a general election, when the seat of a Member of the Legislative Assembly becomes vacant for some reason.

C

 Campaign

Election term

The advertising, signs, buttons, speeches, and other things a candidate uses to make people want to vote for them.

Plebiscite term

Any ads or other materials—audio, visual, digital—that promote or oppose one side of the plebiscite question.

 Campaign manager

The person who coordinates and looks after a candidate’s campaign. The candidate appoints the campaign manager.

 Campaign material

Any ads, signs, buttons, banners, posters and other things in favour of one candidate, or against other candidates. Ads may be on the radio, TV, the internet, and in newspapers.

 Candidate

An eligible voter who wants to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and who files a Declaration of Candidacy that Elections Nunavut accepts.

 Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)

The Chief Electoral Officer is in charge of Elections Nunavut. The Commissioner of Nunavut appoints this person to oversee the Nunavut Elections Act. Elections Nunavut is all the people responsible for organizing and carrying out territorial elections.

 Close of candidacy

2 p.m. local time, 31 days before Election Day.

 Close of registrations

Plebiscite term

Only for a Nunavut-wide plebiscite. The deadline to register as a group with Elections Nunavut is 2 p.m. local time, 14 days before the plebiscite.

 Constituency

A geographic area and the people who live there. The people in each constituency elect a Member of the Legislative Assembly.

 Contribution

Any money, goods or services a person or business gives to help elect a candidate.

 Counterfoil

The numbered tab on a ballot. The Deputy Returning Officer rips it off just before the ballot goes in the ballot box.

D

 Declaration

A formal or legal statement a person makes to say that something is true, or that they intend to do something. If you break this promise, it’s the same as breaking the law. Declaration is similar to affirm, oath, or swear.

 Declaration of Candidacy

The form a person fills out to say they want to run as a candidate for Member of the Legislative Assembly. They must be eligible and give a $200 deposit. The financial agent must also sign this document.

 Deputy Returning Officer (DRO)

The election officer in charge of a polling station on Election Day. The Deputy Returning Officer makes sure voters and candidates respect the law. They give out the ballots and count them.

E

 Education Authority

A District Education Authority or other governing body of a school under the Education Act.

 Elect

To choose a person by voting. During a territorial election, we elect our Members of the Legislative Assembly.

 Election

The process of selecting Members of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly by voting. In a territorial election, voters mark a secret ballot to select a candidate.

 Election expense

Any money paid or owed during an election period as part of a candidate’s campaign. Includes any goods or services people contribute, and any costs of the financial agent and campaign manager.

 Election officer

A person who works for Elections Nunavut and helps run a territorial election. Election officers include Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Deputy Returning Officers, Poll Clerks and Registration Clerks.

 Election period

The official 35-day period starting with the issuing of a writ and ending with Election Day.

 Election report

A report that shows how many votes each candidate got. The Returning Officer fills it out when they review the Election Day statements of the poll. The Returning Officer can delay filing the election report until up to two weeks after Election Day, if needed.

 Elections Nunavut

The office and staff of the Chief Electoral Officer. These people organize and run territorial elections.

 Emergency method

A way to vote by radio or satellite phone if you’re in a remote place and you meet three strict conditions. First, you can’t get to a polling station on Election Day. Second, you can’t communicate any other way, and, third, you had no other way to vote before you went to the remote place. You must contact Elections Nunavut to organize voting this way.

F

 Final voters list

This list includes all the voters that were on the list when the election started, plus those who registered during the election period. It comes out after Election Day.

 Financial agent

Election term

The person who handles all the money for a candidate’s campaign. The financial agent takes contributions, pays all the expenses, and helps the candidate make a financial report after the election. The candidate appoints the financial agent. They both sign the Declaration of Candidacy.

Plebiscite term

Nunavut-wide plebiscite only: The person that a registered group names on their application to manage their finances. The financial agent must complete the financial return and submit it to Elections Nunavut.

 Financial return

The official report of the campaign’s election contributions and expenses, as required under the Nunavut Elections Act. The candidate and financial agent complete the report, sign it, and make a declaration that the information is true.

G

 General Election

An election for all of the constituencies.
I

 Integrity Commissioner

An independent officer of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, with certain responsibilities under the Nunavut Elections Act. The police work with the Integrity Commissioner and the Chief Electoral Officer when they investigate possible election crime.

J

 Judicial recount

When a judge of the Nunavut Court counts all the ballots for a constituency again. This can happen if the number of votes two candidates have obtained are within 2% of each other. See the Nunavut Elections Act for other reasons a recount can happen.

L

 Legislative Assembly

The body of people we elect to form the Government of Nunavut and make laws for Nunavut.

M

 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)

The people who get elected during a territorial election to form the Government of Nunavut.

 Mobile poll

A way to vote if you physically can’t get out to vote. The poll comes to you.
N

 Non-binding or not binding

Plebiscite term

A plebiscite is non-binding when the plebiscite authority can choose to follow the results or not. The plebiscite may be a consultation tool. It is stated in the writ whether the plebiscite is binding or not.

 Notice of Election

A notice that shows the name and contact information of each candidate in a constituency, as well as those of their financial agent and campaign manager. The Chief Electoral Officer sends out the Notice of Election 30 days before Election Day.

 Nunavut Elections Act

The law that Nunavummiut use to organize and run a territorial election.

 Nunavut-wide plebiscite

Plebiscite term

A plebiscite where the affected voters and area is all of Nunavut.

O

 Oath

A formal, legal promise that something is true. A promise to do something. Election officers take an oath to be impartial in their job. Elected candidates take an oath as Members of the Legislative Assembly. Oath is similar to affirm, declaration, or swear.

P

 Petition

Plebiscite term

A public document that asks a plebiscite authority to conduct a plebiscite. It is a request, not a demand. At least 20% of eligible voters in the affected area must sign it.

 Plebiscite

Plebiscite term

A vote by secret ballot conducted under the Plebiscites Act so that a plebiscite authority can find out what Nunavummiut think about a certain issue. It is separate from a liquor plebiscite conducted under the Liquor Act.

 Plebiscite authority

Plebiscite term

The body or person with authority to initiate a plebiscite. The Plebiscites Act names six plebiscite authorities.

 Plebiscite period

Plebiscite term

The official 35-day period starting with the issuing of a writ and ending with the day of the plebiscite.

 Plebiscite question

Plebiscite term

The question(s) and choice(s) set out in the writ and on the ballot that eligible voters can vote on.

 Plebiscite report

Plebiscite term

Shows the number of votes for each choice. The Returning Officer fills it out when they review all the statements of the poll. The Returning Officer can delay the report for up to two weeks after the day of the plebiscite, if needed.

 Poll Clerk (PC)

An election officer who works at a polling station with the Deputy Returning Officer. Poll Clerks look after the polling record.

 Polling place

The building that holds one, two, or more polling stations. Each polling place has an Assistant Returning Officer and Registration Clerk. In communities like Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, the polling place holds polling stations for more than one constituency, with an Assistant Returning Officer and Registration Clerk for each constituency.

 Polling record

A list of everyone who voted at the polling station. It includes changes to the voters list, and notes about everything that happened during voting.

 Polling station

The place we go to vote.

 Post-plebiscite period

Plebiscite term

The 60 days following the plebiscite. Registered groups must submit their financial returns during this period.

 Pre-election expense

A campaign expense that the candidate pays for during the pre-election period.

 Pre-election period

In a general election, the pre-election period starts 90 days before the writ is issued and ends when the Chief Electoral Officer issues the writ.

In a by-election, the pre-election period starts when the date of the election is publicly announced and ends when the Chief Electoral Officer issues the writ.

 Proxy vote

When a voter gets another voter to vote for them. You apply to the Returning Officer to get a proxy certificate. You can only vote by proxy if:

  1. You are on the Voters List;
  2. You’re suddenly called away from your community;
  3. You can’t vote any other way.

 Public Notice of Election

Elections Nunavut posts the Notice to tell everyone about the upcoming election. It gives the dates of the early polls and of Election Day, contact information for Returning Officers, the deadline to file a Declaration of Candidacy, as well as the deadline to object to a name on the Voters List.

R

 Registered group

Plebiscite term

A group that registers with Elections Nunavut to raise money to campaign during a plebiscite. The Plebiscites Act outlines who is eligible as well as other rules. Applies to Nunavut-wide plebiscites only.

 Registration Clerk (RC)

An election officer who works under a Returning Officer to register voters, either between elections, or during an election or by-election.

 Rejected Ballot

A marked ballot that does not count for any candidate. When counting the ballots in the ballot box, the Deputy or Assistant Returning Officer can reject a ballot for clearly defined reasons. If a person watching the ballot count disagrees with their decision, the Election Officers must record the objection in the polling record.

 RENU

The electronic voters list for Nunavut. It stands for Register for Elections in NUnavut.

 Returning Officer (RO)

The election officer in charge of a constituency. Returning Officers appoint Assistant Returning Officers, Deputy Returning Officers, Polling Clerks, and Registration Clerks for each poll. Returning Officers oversee everything about the election in their constituency.

S

 Special ballot

A way to vote by mail if you’re away at school, on vacation, in hospital, at a treatment centre, in jail, or for any other reason. You must apply to Elections Nunavut to get a special ballot. You then receive a package, follow the directions, and mail the ballot back in a special envelope.

 Spoiled ballot

A spoiled ballot is a ballot that the printer did not print properly, or one that a voter made a mistake on. The Deputy Returning Officer gives the voter a new ballot and marks the first one "spoiled". A spoiled ballot does not go into the ballot box.

 Statement of the Poll

The official Elections Nunavut form that shows the number of votes obtained by each candidate for that poll.

 Stub

The numbered part of each ballot that stays with the book of ballots. When the Deputy Returning Officer tears a ballot from the book, the stub stays in the book.

 Swear

A formal, religious promise that something is true, or a promise to do something. The most serious promise you can make. If you break this promise, it’s like breaking the law. A person gives their word and swears on the Bible that something is true. Swear is similar to affirm, declaration, or oath.

V

 Vote

In the case of an election, the marking of secret ballots by voters in order to choose candidates to become Members of the Legislative Assembly.

 Voters List

The list of voters that Elections Nunavut prepares for each constituency. They send a copy to each candidate when the election period starts, and update it 20 days before Election Day.

 Voting in the Returning Officer’s office (VOR)

A way to vote before Election Day. You can vote at the Returning Officer's office, beginning 14 days and ending 4 days before Election Day, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. local time.

W

 Witness

A person who signs a document to say that another person’s signature is truly their signature. 

 Writ

Election term

The official notice announcing an election. The Chief Electoral Officer sends it to each Returning Officer, who posts it in their office. After Election Day, the Returning Officers fill out the back side of the writ, showing who won the election in their consituencies, and send it back to the Chief Electoral Officer. If a candidate won by acclamation, the Returning Officer fills it out and returns it right away.

Plebiscite term

The official notice announcing a plebiscite. The Chief Electoral Officer sends it to each Returning Officer, who posts the writ in their office. After the day of the plebiscite, the Returning Officers fill out the back side of the writ, showing the plebicsite results in their constituencies, and send it back to the Chief Electoral Officer.