The Qalipu Election Code
In 2011, when Qalipu was recognized as an Indian Band, a method was required for choosing its leaders, the elected Chief and Council. With prudent legal guidance, and exploration of what other Indian Bands in Canada do at election time, the Custom Rules Governing Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band Elections was developed. This is now a codified legal document, ratified by the people through majority vote, which will govern Qalipu Elections. Being aware of the rules will help us to not only be active participants in the Election process but also to take pride in an election that is run ‘by the book’, one that is fair, open and transparent.
Chief Electoral Officer
The first thing that happens for a Qalipu Election, which takes place every three years, is the appointment of a Chief Electoral Officer. This is a person who has experience with elections, can objectively interpret the rules, share information with the people, and administer the election with the help of his or her electoral officers. This means that the electoral officer is not concerned with who wins a seat but more so with following the rules and running the election by the Code.
The first release of information you can expect during an Election is the “Notice of Call for Nominations” which will be posted in our main regional newspapers (The Telegram, The Western Star, The Gander Beacon and The Advertiser), on our website www.Qalipu.ca, and on bulletin boards in many of your communities where Town Clerks, and Local Service District Representatives have agreed to help share election information. We will also share this and all official information on Qalipu’s social media pages (Facebook page “Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band”, and on Twitter look for @Qalipu2011)
The Notice of Call for Nominations will tell us important details including how and when to nominate, when the nomination period will end, and details such as how to receive or view a copy of the Voters List, which you will want to make sure you are on if you want to vote on Election day.
Nominating is your right to put forward a person’s name that you would like to see elected to a position of Ward Councilor, Vice-Chief or Chief. The person you nominate must be an ordinary resident on the island of Newfoundland and your nomination must be seconded by another Qalipu voting member.
Updated Election Announcement
Once the nomination period has ended we will likely have a number of eligible candidates for the positions of Ward Councilor (9) Western region Vice-Chief (1), Central region Vice-Chief (1) and Chief (1). These are the candidates we choose from when we vote on Election Day. Their names along with the dates, time and locations of Advance Polling and Election Day Polling, and other important details, will be made public with the “Notice of Election”. This will be publicized in the same fashion as outlined above (newspapers, website, bulletin boards, and social media).
Voting Eligibility, Locations, and Change of Address
Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation who are 18 and older are eligible to vote for candidates in the ward where we are ordinarily resident. This means that you are on the voters list and eligible to vote with the Electoral Ward where you currently reside. If you no longer live in one of Qalipu’s nine wards, you will vote with the Electoral Ward in which you were last resident or were assigned when becoming a member of the Band. If your address has changed since the last Election in 2012, and you would like to update this on the Voters List, please email email@example.com with the subject line “Change of Address”. Along with your new mailing address, please provide your full name, date of birth, membership number and at least one item that verifies your new address such as a scan of your drivers license or piece of mail in your name. If a member of your family has passed away, please get in touch with Charmaine Bath at1-855-263-6440 and forward the death certificate.
If you don’t live in an Electoral Ward, or if you have reason to believe that you will find it difficult to vote at an advance poll or at the poll on polling day, you may apply to vote by mail in ballot. Please note there are timelines, guidelines and identification requirements associated with this so please ensure that if you intend to vote by mail-in, that you do it as early as it becomes available. Our website will have more information on this during an Election.
For your reference, here is a breakdown of the nine Qalipu Electoral Wards and the positions each ward is asked to make nominations for, and to vote on.
|Your Electoral Ward||Positions you can Nominate and Vote on|
|Flat Bay||Flat Bay Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|St. George’s||St. George’s Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Stephenville||Stephenville Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Port au Port||Port au Port Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Corner Brook||Corner Brook Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Benoits Cove||Benoits Cove Ward Councilor, Western region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Exploits||Exploits Ward Councilor, Central region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Gander Bay||Gander Bay Ward Councilor, Central region Vice-Chief, Chief|
|Glenwood||Glenwood Ward Councilor, Central region Vice-Chief, Chief|
After the Polls Close
Perhaps the most exciting part of all is waiting for results after the polls have closed. Immediately after the poll closes, the votes will be validated and counted. The Chief Electoral Officer will then publicly declare the elected candidates having the highest number of votes in accordance with the Custom Election Rules. The same process of information sharing will be used to share the results so, we will see the results in our regular regional newspapers, on our website, community bulletin boards and on social media. To get the news first you’ll want to like us on Facebook at “Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band” or follow us on Twitter @Qalipu2011. We will also email the results following Election Day so be sure to add a current email address to your ginu membership profile.
There is an Election Appeals period following the Election. If you can show duly verified evidence that there was a corrupt practice in connection with the Election, a violation of the Custom Election Rules that might have affected the result of the Band Election, or if a candidate who was nominated who was ineligible to be nominated, it is in your right to put forward an appeal to the Chief Electoral Officer. The appeals process falls within 30 days after a Band Election.