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Election Q&A

Do you have a question about the Election, the election code or how to vote?
Send your questions via Facebook, Twitter by tagging #OurElectionOurWay or email: communications@wlfn.com.


Updated June 26, 2020

QUESTIONSANSWERS
NEW! Question:

I thought long about my vote only to come realize I don’t have a status card yet. I am eligible to vote?
Answer: 

You can certainly vote at the polling station on election day. Simply bring another form of identification with you. 

If you are newly minted Band member and have your letter of registration, or lost your status card but know your 10-digit Indian Status registry number, you may still be able to register for the online, electronic ballot through OneFeather. You will need to input your name, your 10-digit registry number, and your date of birth. Registration also requires your own email address. See How do I vote? 

If you have any questions, please contact the electoral officer as soon as possible by calling: Cell/Text: 705-849-8072 or email: Vaughn Johnston vaughn_johnston@hotmail.comor email Luanne Naponse lunaponse@yahoo.ca.
NEW! Question: 

I’m concerned that there is such a small percentage coming out to vote, pass laws and make important community decisions. How can we begin to address this?
 
Answer:

Voter apathy is a challenge in every election or ratification vote. Especially when these votes happen more often these days.
 
One solution is simple: As a community, we need to increase and improve the voter turnout. The more citizens that vote, the more they are empowered in community decision-making. That’s one reasons why we created the #OurElectionOurWay campaign to encourage Atikameksheng citizens to Act, Interact, and most importantly… Vote.
NEW! Question:

“The Atikameksheng Electorate statistics infographic is getting a lot of attention.  Where did you get those numbers?”
Answer:

According to the Electoral Officer as of June 22, 2020, there were 155 total voters so far.  A week ago, that number was at 101 voters.  That’s an increase of 34 per cent.  In 2018, a total of 276 ballots were cast in the election.  Which means we’ve already achieved 56 percent of the total votes case in 2018.  Great job, Atikameksheng!  Let’s make those numbers soar.  Vote online now.
Question:

“What happens in the event of a tie?”
Answer: 

It’s a good thing this doesn’t happen very often.  Section 15 (q) of the Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (election code) states that in the event of a tie for Gimaa or for the final position of Councillor, the Electoral Officer shall use the “lot system” to pick the successful candidate.  In other words, the names of the two or more candidates who are tied will be placed into a hat, and one name will be drawn by the Electoral Officer.
Question:

“How many people have voted in the election so far?”
Answer:

For those of you who like numbers, as of June 22, 2020, a total of 155 people have voted in this election.  More are expected to vote online every day.  So far, we have already surpassed over 56% of the total ballots cast compared to the last election.
Question:

What is the new election appeal process?
Answer:
 
According to the Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (election code), thirty days after an election, any candidate or eligible voter who voted in the election may submit a written appeal of the results.  They will need to demonstrate reasonable grounds that certain factors may have affected the outcome of the election, including one or more of the following:
 
a) a candidate having been elected who was not eligible to be a candidate, and/or
b) a person or persons having voted who were not eligible to vote and that the vote or votes cast by those ineligible persons could have made a difference in the election results and/or
(c) the secrecy guaranteed of the process was compromised and/or
(d) there was a violation of the election code, and/or
(e) any other grounds that are deemed by the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Appeals Board as compromising a fair electoral process.
 
The appellant, the Electoral Officer and candidates in the election shall have 14 days to respond or provide any information to an Appeal Board convened to examine and ultimately decide upon the appeal.  The Appeal Board shall make a decision within twenty-one days of receiving the appeal and provide a formal written report to the community.
Question:

What is OneFeather?
Answer:
 
OneFeather is an independent, First Nations-owned, third-party election services company that was contracted by Atikemeksheng Anishnawbek to execute the online electronic voting component of election. OneFeather’s founder and CEO is Lawrence Lewis.  OneFeather has more than 20 years of elections management experience and is a leader in Indigenous election administration and pioneers of electoral technology and best practices.  The voting process, including registration and verification of the voter takes place on the secure site and server hosted by OneFeather.  OneFeather is based in Lkwungen traditional territory in Victoria, BC.
Question:

What does the Electoral Officer do?
Answer:
 
Under section 9 of the Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (election code), it is the responsibility of the Electoral Officer to preside over and manage the election (or by-election, if required) for the position of Gimaa and Councillor.  Appointed by Atkameksheng Anishnawbek, the Electoral Officer will design the ballots, election notices, oversee the nomination process, voting process and fill out any reports and forms required.  They may also appoint and supervise a Deputy Electoral Officer and, if required, a poll clerk.  The Electoral Officer is also responsible for working with, and overseeing an internet-based, voting service provider to conduct the online, electronic voting process.  The Electoral Officer and election staff must remain publicly neutral throughout the election period.
 
The Electoral Officer is Mr. Vaughn Johnston, a member of Serpent River First Nation.  He is an trusted and experienced electoral officer and has worked with many First Nations over the years.  He is also very willing and able to answer your questions directly by cell/text: 705-849-8072 or email: Vaughn Johnston vaughn_johnston@hotmail.com.  Luanna Naponse is the Deputy Electoral Officer.  She can be reached by email: lunaponse@yahoo.ca.
Question:

I won’t be able to vote at the polling station on election day and am unable to vote online.  How can I vote?

Answer:

If you don’t have a mail-in ballot package, or are unable to vote at the polling station, our Deputy Electoral Officer can sign out a special ballot to an eligible voter if needed.  This gives voters some additional flexibility in exceptional circumstances.  However, the voter will need to pick the mail-in ballot in person.  If the voter is unable to leave home, that voter must request the ballot personally and appoint a specific individual to pick up the ballot for them. If you wish to request a special ballot, contact Luanna Naponse, Deputy Electoral Officer can be reached by email: lunaponse@yahoo.ca.
Question:

How many people have voted so far?
Answer:
 
We are over 100 votes a full twelve days before the election. So far, since polls opened on June 1, 2020, 101 citizens have voted in the election.  This is fairly consistent with our experience with previous online ratifications.  We’re estimating an even larger return as we get closer to election day on June 27. 
 
The Elections Officer gets a regular report from OneFeather whenever it is required.  It is important to know if the community is getting enough information on the election and they understand how to vote.  As part of this report, neither the Elections Officer nor OneFeather will know who voted for who, or knows the results of the election in advance.  That information remains secure on the OneFeather server until the end of the election period.
Question: 

“Will we be able to ask questions at the Election Candidates Night?” 
Answer
  
Although we would like to host a more interactive forum, there may not be enough time for everyone to ask and answer questions in a fair and equitable way.  Even if there was just one question – in order to be fair, it would require a response by every candidate.  That could take a lot of time.  This way, everyone gets a chance to introduce themselves and share their message equally.  Each candidate will provide a short speech.
  
If you have any questions, please contact the candidates individually to obtain their response. 
Question: 
  
“I haven’t received my mail-in ballot.  Is there still time to get a voting package?” 
Answer: 
  
There is a chance that your mail-in ballot package may have been lost in the mail or we do not have your most current address in our database.  There is still time to obtain a replacement, or receive a new mail-in ballot package. 
  
Contact the electoral officer as soon as possible by calling: Cell/Text: 705-849-8072 or email: Vaughn Johnston vaughn_johnston@hotmail.com or email Luanne Naponse lunaponse@yahoo.ca
Question:

“Are residents of a long-term care home able to vote in the election?”
Answer: 
  
Of course.  You can vote from a long-term care home either by mail-in ballot or by online electronic voting.  For detailed instructions, see: How do I vote? 
  
If you haven’t received a mail-in ballot package, the Electoral Officer can make sure that a mail-in ballot package is sent to you in time to vote. 
  
If you have any questions, or need a mail-in ballot package, contact the electoral officer as soon as possible by calling:  Cell/Text: 705-849-8072 email: Vaughn Johnston vaughn_johnston@hotmail.com or email Luanne Naponse lunaponse@yahoo.ca
 
Question:

Who is running for the office of Gimaa and Councillor?
Answer:

You can see the full list of candidates by visiting the Election Notices page.
Question:

How long does it take to vote online?
Answer:

Based on some early feedback, the time it takes to cast your ballot is only a few minutes.
 
If you are somewhat “tech savvy”, you’ll have access to the internet, your own email and have your status card handy. The initial registration step is a simple process.  You’ll have to visit the OneFeather site, fill out a short form, check your email and follow the steps.  In all, this may take you less than five minutes.  If you already have a voting profile at OneFeather from previous community votes, the process is even faster.
 
If you are not a technophile, you can ask a family member for help. But you will still need your own email address. This might take a bit longer.
 
If you are unable to vote online, you can always vote with a mail-in ballot.  Keep an eye out for your election package.  It’s in the mail!
 
The most basic way to vote is to cast your vote on election day at the polling station.  For more voting instructions visit here.
Question:

How is this “Our Way”?
 
Answer:

For the first time ever, the rules and process for this election was developed exclusively for, and by, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.  Our Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (election code) was passed by Gimaa and Council, and ratified by you. 

Previous elections, governed under the Indian Act, was done using their way.  It was a process that was imposed on us by another government.  Elections governed under Gimaakeng Naaknigewin, was made for us by our own people.  That is the Atikameksheng way.  That is Our Way.
Question:

How do I vote?
Answer:

There are three ways to vote in the election:
1. Online (Electronic) Voting: Voting is open now. 
2. Mail-in Ballot: Your ballot package will be mailed out on May 28, 2020 or sooner.
3. At the polling station, the Atikameksheng Community Centre on election day, June 27, 2020.

Visit here for full step-by-step voting instructions.
Visit the Election Notices page.
Question: 

What is the “Our Election. OurWay.” campaign?
Answer:

“Our Election. Our Way” is the title and theme of an interactive awareness campaign designed to inform Atikameksheng citizens about the June 27, 2020 election. The campaign makes use of the new election webpage, our Facebook and Twitter channels, this Q&A feature as well as some special products, including a special election edition of the newsletter.

The term “Our Election” is self-explanatory. The term “Our Way”, refers to this historic vote, the first under our new Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (Election Code).
Our goal is to provide you with timely and important information about the vote and to encourage members to act, interact and vote.
Question:

Why is this election so historic?  Haven’t we been holding Chief and Council elections for a long time?
Answer:

We’ve never had an election like this one. It is historic for a number of reasons:

This is the first election under our new Gimaakeng Naaknigewin (Election Code) rather than the previous elections held under the Indian Act.

This is the first Gimaa and Council election to use online electronic voting.

This is the first election where we had four-year terms.

Oh yes, we’re going to remember this one. This will be the election we had during COVID-19.
Question: 

What is Gimaakeng Naaknigewin? 
Answer:

Gimaakeng Naaknigewin, is the election code for Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. This document governs the process and conduct of the selection of our governing body (the Gimaa and Council) of our First Nation. Prior to it being ratified, elections were governed solely under the Indian Act, a repressive piece of legislation that was imposed on all First Nations by the Crown. With the development of our own election code, we can conduct our election, our way. Gimaakeng Naaknigewin was ratified in January 2020 and accepted by the Government of Canada.
Question: 

Was there a delay in getting the election code approved by the Government? 
Answer:

Following the successful ratification of the Gimaakeng Naaknigewin election code, we were required to send in the results and certify that our community had spoken, and approved its adoption on January 30, 2020. We wanted to be able to use the Gimaakeng Naaknigewin for our election, our way.

On February 4, 2020 we did receive a favourable response from Crown-Indigenous Relations that our ratification and election code would be accepted. But in the weeks following, there was no response from the Minister. Then COVID-19 hit. The government and the Minister had other priorities.

Finally, the Minister signed off of the election code this spring in time for the June 27, 2020 election.

Despite this delay, our Gimaa and Council were persistent in ensuring that we were listening to the will of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in moving forward in our way in time for this election.
Question: 

What is different about this election compared to previous elections? 
Answer:

First of all, the election process is being done using our way. For the first time, the election process is being defined by our own Gimaakeng Naaknigewin election code. In previous elections, the process was defined by the Indian Act.

Secondly, the election under our election code allows us to use online, electronic voting. This is particularly important given public health concerns from COVID-19. Citizens can vote from home using their computers, tablets and smartphones. It also encourages broader engagement of citizens, no matter where they live and additional flexibility in voting options.

One of the most progressive changes is that we are changing the terms of office for Gimaa and Councillors from every two (2) years, to every (4) years. This will allow more stability and effective governance of our First Nation. Four years is more in-line with other governments.
Question:  

Is online electronic voting secure? 
Answer:

One of the most common concerns regarding online voting is the potential security threats. The OneFeather platform is monitored 365/24/7, and has built in systems to ensure uninterrupted services, built in platform redundancies and multiple daily back up protocols, as well as triggers that automate interventions to halt suspicious or nefarious activities, probes or attacks.

The secure online voting portal itself ensures and certifies that the voter is who they say they are. Those who choose electronic voting may only vote following activation of their OneFeather profile which utilizes a number of steps to authenticate and verify a voter’s identity. When you register to vote at OneFeather, your identification credentials and Band registration number are matched up with Atikameksheng Anishnawbek band list. Through this 2-step verification process – the eligible voter is provided a PIN (personal identification number) unique to the voter.

Only that registered voted, via confirmed email, will be issued a PIN (unique personal identification number) and a secure link to access the online electronic ballot. The systems is designed to ensure that each eligible voter is only able to vote only once.

Despite this level of security, the Onefeather system ensures your ballot and your choice of Gimaa or Councillors remains secret. It is designed so we cannot track or associate your One Feather profile with your election choices.
Question: 

How will you ensure the safety of election officials and voters at the polling station? 
Answer:

COVID-19 is a serious public health threat. It can compromise our health and safety, especially those who gather in large groups, or may already be immunocompromised, such as elders, and those living with chronic health conditions. Atikameksheng Anishnawbek is working to protect those who want to cast their ballots at the polling station on election day by implementing the following precautions:

– Admission inside the polling station will be limited to ensure physical distancing. Only a set number of people will be allowed inside to cast their ballot at any given time. If you have to wait outside or line up to vote, please ensure safe physical distancing. Please respect these measures and the instructions provided by election officials.

– Surfaces including pencils, marking stations and even the ballot box will be disinfected after each use.

– We encourage you to use your mask out of respect for others.

– Physical distancing will be a challenge at the election count. Only candidates or one (1) representative are welcome to attend and scrutinize the count in-person. All other Atikameksheng citizens can witness the election count live streamed via the Members Portal. Visit the Election page or the Membership Portal for more information.

Act.

Interact.

Use hashtag #OurElectionOurWay

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