Qalipu elections are governed by a legal document called the Custom Rules Governing Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band Elections. This guiding document was developed in 2011 when the Qalipu Band was recognized as an Indian Act Band. The Custom Rules is now a codified legal document that was ratified by the people through majority vote. For more on how our election works via the Custom Rules, please visit our website.
Following the election in 2015, Qalipu realized several issues that need to be resolved to make our elections more effective in the future. For instance, some voters reported arriving at their polling station to find that they had been incorrectly listed in a different voting location. Others found that the distance they had to travel to their designated poll was unreasonable, and many people thought the time frame on returning mail-in ballots was too short. The 2015 election also saw a low voter turnout (approximately 25%) and this is something else that can be improved upon.
An Election Reform Committee made up of three Councilors, three staff members and one deputy returning officer from the last election, was brought together to begin addressing these issues, and to explore election improvements, including changes to the Custom Rules. It is important to note that any change to the Custom Rules requires ratification (approval by vote) from the membership. For instance, to change voting procedure to include the option for online voting, or to make the election entirely mail-in (no polls), a ratification vote would need to take place. The ideal time to present changes like this for voting by membership is during the next election.
The Election Reform Committee has proposed changes to the Custom Rules, and voters can expect to hear more on those changes which will be presented to them for approval during the next election. Membership will also be asked for their input via a survey that will be placed on our website, and sent out to the Elders Mailout list. Hard copies of the survey will also be made available at our office locations and at Ward meetings. The intent of the survey will be to determine membership preference on how they would like to vote; online only, mail-in only, a combination of both, or maintain the current way of voting, for instance.
Can our elections be improved before the membership votes on it?
Yes. While major changes to the Custom Rules require ratification votes, there are efficiencies that the Committee has found that fit within the parameters of the current rules and, by implementing them, some of the issues experienced during the last election will be resolved. For instance, the timeline of the entire election will be drawn out. By starting the process earlier, all elements of the Election will be less rushed. This will include making mail-in ballot applications available sooner and giving voters more time to get them in.
The Committee will also communicate often, well in advance of the Election itself, to ensure that voters are engaged and aware of the process.
As a voter, you can help make the Election run more smoothly as well.
By logging into your ginu membership profile, you can confirm that you are listed in the correct Electoral Ward. The Ward listed under “Electoral Ward” under the Mailing Address tab determines where you will be eligible to vote. Other information that you should verify includes: ensure a valid email address is listed for you (most of our communications, both during elections and throughout the year, come through email); and, ensure your current mailing address and phone number are listed.
Why not take a look to ensure that the information on your profile is accurate? If you need help logging in to ginu, please call Charmaine Bath at 1-855-263-6440.
Questions or comments? Please email the committee through the Communications Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org