Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to vote in an election?

A person must meet the following requirements to vote:

  • Canadian citizen
  • minimum 18 years of age
  • resident of NL the day before polling day
  • resident of the district in which the person is voting on polling day

Am I entitled to time off of work to vote?

Electors who are working during the 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. timeframe are entitled to have four consecutive hours to vote. This does not imply that four hours must be taken from working hours. For example, an individual who is finished work at 4:00 p.m. automatically has a four hour timeframe in which to vote (from 4:00 p.m. until the close of polls at 8:00 p.m.). In this case, no time off is required.

If time off from work is required, it must be done at the employer’s convenience, but without a reduction in pay (section 210, Elections Act, 1991 ).

How do I find out what electoral district I am in?

Visit our search page.

You can also call our office toll-free at (1-877-)729-7987 to speak to a Voter Registry Coordinator. Voter Registry Coordinators maintain the voters list and are able to search for elector information within the voter registry computer system.

How can I add my name to the voters list?

In order to add your name to the voters list, contact the Voter Registry division at Elections NL. You will be required to complete a form and produce identification.

Can I vote at the polls if my name is not on the voters list?

Yes, you can still vote if your name is not on the voters list. You will, however, be required to complete an oath (confirming you are who you say you are) and present identification that shows your name, current address and signature.

What kind of identification will I be required to present on polling day if I'm not on the voters list?

If you are not on the voters list, you have to produce identification that shows your full name, current address and signature in order to vote. The ideal piece of identification is a driver's licence because it contains your name, address and signature.

We understand that not everyone has a driver's licence, so there are alternative forms of acceptable ID. Any combination of documents that show all three identification criteria will be accepted. For example, your power bill contains your name and address. Combine that with a credit card, which contains your name and signature, and you meet all three ID criteria.

There are three additional identification methods:

  • Visible Identification by an Election Officer. If a Deputy Returning Officer or Poll Clerk working at the polling station knows an elector, they are able to confirm the elector's identity for the purpose of voting
  • Confirmation by another person (using a Guarantor's Form) to verify the applicant's identity and address in the electoral district they intend to vote in; or
  • A sworn statement (Affidavit for Identification) signed before an authorized official (i.e. Commissioner for Oaths or Justice of the Peace) verifying the applicant's name, current address and signature. The authorized official does not have to know the elector.

If you have any questions about identification, please contact Elections NL.

My name and/or address has changed since the last election. How will this affect me at the upcoming election?

Elections NL receives elector updates from other sources, like Elections Canada. However, you should be aware that being on the federal list of electors does not guarantee inclusion on our provincial list. Though we receive updates from Elections Canada, it is quite possible that any updates made at the federal polls will not be incorporated into the provincial list in time for our election due to the restrictive timelines between the two electoral events. Your information may have been updated in our system, but if not, you will be required to complete an oath to verify your change of name or address.

Is there a deadline to be added to the voters list before an election?

Yes. The deadline to be added to the voters list for the 2019 Provincial General Election is Thursday, May 9 @ 8:00 p.m (half an hour earlier in most of Labrador).

Where can I obtain electoral district maps?

Visit our map page.

How are elections organized at the district level?

Elections NL coordinates election operations for the whole province, which is comprised of 40 electoral district Returning Offices, from its headquarters in St. John's. Each Returning Office manages the election operation for its district. Each Returning Office has a Returning Officer (who is like the district Election Manager), an Election Clerk (who is like the district Assistant Election Manager) and a Special Ballot Officer (who coordinates Special Ballot voting for the district). These staff members are there to meet the needs of electors at the district level and do the hiring and training for all temporary field staff who work in the district polling stations.

How are Returning Officers, Election Clerks and Special Ballot Officers screened, hired and trained?

The position of Returning Officer is a continuous position which is filled by the same person for each election and by-election until he or she resigns or is removed from the position. As per legislation, a Returning Officer is appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer and an Election Clerk is appointed by the Returning Officer subject to CEO approval.

When a vacancy occurs, the position is advertised. Applicants who are deemed to be adequately qualified are interviewed. In order to be considered for employment, Returning Officer applicants must meet the basic qualifications of an elector and must live within the electoral district where the vacancy exists.

All Returning Officer training is conducted by Elections NL staff. The Returning Officer is responsible for hiring an Election Clerk and a Special Ballot Officer. These individuals must also meet the basic qualifications of an elector.

Returning Officers, Election Clerks and Special Ballot Officers are not permitted to be members of any political party and must not have had any political associations within 60 days before polling day. This includes being in the service of a candidate or being employed by a candidate or his or her scrutineer (or someone else who is working on behalf or in the interest of a candidate).

How can I apply for election employment?

During an election or by-election, resumes can be forwarded to the Returning Officer by hand-delivery or by mail, or interested applicants can apply on the Elections NL's website.

Outside of an electoral event, resumes can be forwarded to Elections NL to be added to district files for upcoming employment opportunities.

During an election or by-election, what methods of voting are available to me?

There are three methods of voting available to electors:

  • Advance voting (may occur 1 or more of the 7 days immediately preceding regular poll voting)
  • Regular poll voting (normally referred to as Election Day)
  • Special Ballot Voting

What is the procedure for people who cannot get to polling stations, such as those in hospital, long-term care facilities, or those who will be away from the province on polling day?

Elections NL choose a day during the writ period to visit hospitals and personal care homes/long-term care facilities to allow those people who will be unable to vote in person at the advance or regular polls to vote bedside by Special Ballot.

People who are temporarily away from the province and who wish to vote in an election must do so by Special Ballot voting, as well.

What kind of information is available to students?

Before students vote, they determine for themselves in what electoral district they are going to vote. Legislation refers to this place as one's "ordinary residence". According to the Elections Act, 1991 , ordinary residence is "that place which [the student] has his or her principal or only residence, home, lodging or habitation". A person may not have more than one residence at a time. In other words, the student's ordinary residence will be the place they consider home.

Once a student has determined his or her ordinary residence, voting can take place by one of three methods available to all electors:

  • Advance voting (may occur 1 or more of the 7 days immediately preceding regular poll voting)
  • Regular poll voting (normally referred to as Election Day)
  • Special Ballot Voting

Advance polls are usually open one week before regular polling is scheduled to take place. For the 2019 Provincial General Election, advance polls will be held on Thursday, May 9 from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (half an hour earlier in most of Labrador).

Regular poll voting is the day set for the election or by-election. For the 2019 Provincial General Election, regular polls will be held on Thursday, May 16 from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (half an hour earlier in most of Labrador).

What kind of assistance is available to electors at the polls?

Election officials are sworn to secrecy and are able to help electors in any way possible.

Election staff, such as Deputy Returning Officers and Poll Clerks, can assist electors by guiding them into the polling station and explaining the voting process to them. If verbal conversation is not possible, election staff may write notes or try to communicate with electors using alternate means.

If assistance is required to mark a ballot, only a DRO may assist during this process. Alternatively, a friend or relative may help one elector one time during an election. The person giving assistance must take an oath. If a friend accompanies an elector into the voting compartment neither the DRO or Poll Clerk or scrutineer shall accompany them.

A template for persons who are blind or who have low-vision is also available at the polls. The template has several holes on its edge which line up with the candidates' names on the ballot. The ballot is placed inside the template and the elector is then able to identify the candidate of their choice with the help of the DRO, who verbally explains the order in which the candidates' names are placed (alphabetical order). The elector can mark the ballot by his/her self.

If a person has questions about the accessibility of a voting location, they can call Elections Newfoundland and Labrador toll free at 1-877-729-7987. Email inquiries are also welcome at enl@gov.nl.ca.

What are the hours of polling on election day?

The hours of polling are the same on advance poll day and election day - polls are open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (half an hour earlier in most of Labrador).

What happens with ballots after the election?

In accordance with the Elections Act, 1991 , the Chief Electoral Office retains the ballot boxes, sealed, for one year following the provincial election in which they were used. After this time has passed, or unless otherwise directed by order of a judge, the Chief Electoral Office will destroy all those documents, ballots, papers contained in the ballot boxes except the poll books, voters list and all oaths.

The Chief Electoral Office may, for the purpose of revising and correcting the voters list, open a sealed ballot box in the presence of the Clerk of the House of Assembly and may remove such contents. They must ensure that the contents are used or kept in a secure place, reseal the opened ballot box with a numbered seal, make a record of the number on the seal used, and provide a copy of the record to the Clerk of the House of Assembly.

When are campaign signs allowed to be put up?

Campaign signs are permitted to be posted at any time. In fact, candidates could, in theory, post campaign signs now for the Provincial Election in 2023!

What types of ads are considered 'media ads' and when are they allowed during the campaign period?

Media ads are defined to include radio, television and newspaper/periodical advertisements.

Once a writ of election has been issued, media ads are permitted for the duration of the writ period with exception of election day and the day before election day. These two days are the "blackout period" during which no media ads are permitted.

The blackout period does not apply to public service announcements or campaign signs. They are permitted at any time.

What are the limits on campaign fund-raising/donations?

There are currently no limits but candidates may not solicit, collect or accept funds until after the writ is issued and after they are registered with the Chief Electoral Office and are officially nominated.

What are the limits on third-party involvement in an election campaign?

There are no limits on third-party involvement, but third-party spending may be attributed to an individual candidate if done with the knowledge and consent of the candidate.

How do I find out how much a candidate/political party can spend of their campaign?

This information is always posted in the Candidates section of our website.

How can I file a complaint about the election process?

A complaint must be filed in writing to the Chief Electoral Officer. All complaints should include dates, locations, names of those involved, and the name, address and telephone number of the person making the complaint.

How can I file a complaint about a party and/or candidate?

Elections NL maintains responsibility for the overall electoral process. We can accept complaints about political parties and candidates if they are in violation of the Elections Act, 1991 .

However, we do not participate in or control party nominations or party elections. Any complaints about party processes should be directed to the chairperson of the party.