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Elections Calgary

Election security

Elections Calgary is committed to safe, secure and accessible elections. Nothing is more important to us than maintaining voter confidence and ensuring an unbiased and accurate election. We have many processes set up to ensure the integrity and security of the election.

Checking voter eligibility

Elections Calgary follows the rules for checking voter eligibility, identification and verification based on the requirements in the Local Authorities Election Act (the Act).

Voters must present acceptable identification showing their name and current address, or have an eligible voter vouch for their identity, and complete their voter statements before voting. A candidate or their scrutineer may object to a voter’s qualification and a record of this objection is kept with the sealed ballot box.

It is an offence under the Act to vote if the person knows they have no right to do so. A person who is found guilty of an offense can be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.

Elections Calgary fully cooperates with any Calgary Police Service investigation regarding fraudulent voting. 

Tabulator and ballot security

Elections Calgary uses electronic vote tabulators to scan and count paper ballots at voting stations. Voting tabulators are tested before, during and after they are used to ensure accuracy and security. Physical and digital security keys are used to ensure the devices are not altered or tampered with. Voting data is encrypted and results are only available to election officials after the voting stations close.

Tabulators improve the speed, accuracy, and timely reporting of results. There are many safety measures that we use to ensure that there is no tampering with the tabulators at any time during the voting process. We use tabulators with full confidence and follow all security and safety measures.

The Act and Election Bylaw (35M2018) authorize Elections Calgary to make use of alternative voting equipment, such as electronic vote tabulators.

How tabulators work in the election process

Before the election:

  • Tabulators are rigorously tested by Elections Calgary prior to the election to confirm they are operating properly and accurately. After testing, security seals are applied to each tabulator.
  • Sealed tabulators and unmarked ballots are stored in a physically secure and controlled access location. Only authorized election workers who are sworn to secrecy can access tabulators and unmarked ballots.
  • Tabulators and ballots are then transferred to voting stations, only authorized election officials can turn on the tabulator to accept ballots.
  •  Before voting stations open, election officials begin the process to accept ballots and inspect the ballot box to confirm no ballots have been processed (this is done in front of any candidates and/or their scrutineers).

During the election:

  • Once voting begins, voters mark their ballots and then take them to the tabulator. The voter inserts their own ballot into the tabulator which scans the ballot. It then records the voter’s selection. If the ballot is properly completed, it’s deposited into the box.
  • If the ballot has an error (like a blank ballot or an overvote) it’s returned without being counted for the voter to make a correction before they re-submit the ballot.

After the election:

  • After voting stations close on Election Day, in the presence of any candidates or their scrutineers, authorized election officials print unofficial results from the tabulator for that voting station.
  • The encrypted, unofficial results are also securely transmitted digitally to a secure server. Marked ballots are sealed in the ballot box and transferred to a physically secure and controlled access environment.

Following Election Day, the Returning Officer reviews the integrity of the processes, including a review of administrative and technical requirements to ensure legislative compliance prior to confirming official results.