What is a Scrutineer?
A candidate may choose to appoint a scrutineer at a polling station to observe proceedings at the poll on behalf of the candidate. The scrutineer observes voting procedures, as well as the counting and closing procedures after voting ends at 8:00 p.m.
Scrutineer Appointment and Documentation
Scrutineer forms can be downloaded from our Forms and Guides page.
A scrutineer must be appointed in writing by a candidate. The written appointment must be presented to the Deputy Returning Officer when the scrutineer arrives at the polling station. Elections NL has a form designed for this purpose (Form A9-A, Appointment of a Scrutineer) or the candidate can provide the written appointment to the scrutineer using their own form.
Upon arrival at the polling station, the scrutineer must complete an oath (Oath A9-O, Oath/Affirmation/Declaration of a Scrutineer) which the Deputy Returning Officer for the polling station will administer.
Scrutineers who leave and return to the same polling station do not have to take the appointment and oath again.
A scrutineer may be appointed to more than one polling station in the same building; however, in such cases the scrutineer must provide separate appointments to each individual polling station. These can either be original appointments for each or one original plus the correct number of photocopies for the number of assigned polling stations the scrutineer will be working on.
While the Elections Act, 1991 does not state an age requirement, Elections NL would prefer for all scrutineers to be of voting age which is a minimum of 18 years of age.
Acceptable Scrutineer Activities
A scrutineer is permitted to:
- Inspect election documents and have unmarked ballots counted if scrutineer is present at least 15 minutes before the polls open
- Vote at his or her assigned polling station on polling day if working in the electoral district in which he or she resides
- Challenge an elector's qualifications by requesting that the elector first take an oath
- Provide another person working on behalf of the candidate with the names of persons who have voted at the polling station
- Be present inside the voting compartment with the Deputy Returning Officer and an elector who is requiring assistance when marking the ballot (the scrutineer only acts as a witness in this case)
- Witness the closing of the poll
- Remain at the polling station for the counting of the ballots
- Object to the counting of a ballot by the Deputy Returning Officer (however, the Deputy Returning Officer's decision on the ballot is final)
- Receive a Master List of all persons who have voted at the Advance Poll
- Endorse the various envelopes and seals
- Receive a copy of the Statement of the Poll completed and signed by the Deputy Returning Officer
Unacceptable Scrutineer Activities
A scrutineer is NOT permitted to:
- Interfere with an elector when marking his or her ballot
- Communicate information as to the manner in which a ballot paper has been marked in his or her presence
- Directly or indirectly induce or try to induce an elector to show his or her ballot paper after it has been marked
- Communicate to a person information obtained at a polling station as to the candidate for whom an elector has voted
- Communicate information obtained at the counting of votes as to the candidate for whom a vote is cast on a particular ballot
Wearing Political Paraphernalia
Scrutineers cannot wear any materials that represent political parties. Identity cards provided by Elections NL are the only identification materials permitted to be worn by a scrutineer.
Inside the Polling Station
Every effort will be made to accommodate a scrutineer at a polling station. A scrutineer should sit next to the Poll Clerk so that he or she can easily hear the elector's name and address being called upon entrance to the polling station.
Voting at the Assigned Polling Station
It is likely that a scrutineer will be assigned to a polling station that is outside of his or her normal poll. In these cases, a scrutineer is permitted to vote at the assigned polling station as long as it is located in the electoral district in which the scrutineer resides. In order to vote, the scrutineer will first have to complete Elections NL's Oath A12-O (Oath/Affirmation/Declaration for Voting by an Election Officer or Scrutineer).
Leaving and Returning
Scrutineers may leave a polling station and return later in the day. However, only one scrutineer for each candidate may be present at a polling station at the same time. If a new scrutineer is required at the polling station to replace someone else, the new scrutineer must present a written appointment from the candidate and will have to complete Elections NL's A9-O oath before observing proceedings.
Electronic Devices Prohibited
Cell phones and/or other electronic devices are strictly prohibited at the polls. If a scrutineer wishes to use a cell phone or electronic device, he or she will have to leave the polling station and go outside the building away from the flow of electors inside the building.