On Monday, election day, Bev Genge started by deciding what outfit to wear while she works as a Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) at the Alex Hope Elementary polling station.
Because government policy forbids election officers from wearing certain colours, she has a limited number of choices, Genge explained.
“You’re not allowed to wear any of the candidates’ colours,” Genge told the Langley Advance Times.
“No blue (Conservative), red (Liberal) or green.”
“I’ll probably wear white and black,” she laughed.
“Whatever I find in my closet at 5 a.m.”
This will be her second election working at a polling station.
Her first time was the last provincial election.
Genge will work from before the polls open to after they close, making sure the polling station opens and closes on time, including setting up the poll with the necessary supplies.
As a DRO, it’s her job to make sure that a prospective elector provides satisfactory proof of identity and address before voting.
There are many ways to qualify by providing two pieces of ID, according to the Elections Canada website.
Acceptable ID includes a driving licence, or other card issued by a federal, provincial or municipal government with a person’s name, address and photo (A full list of accepted IDs can be found on the Elections Canada website.
If someone managed to show up without any of the required documentation, Genge said, they will be given a chance t get it an come back.
People can still vote without ID if they declare their identity and address in writing and have someone who is assigned to the same polling station vouch for them.
The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address.
DROs are expected to be “tactful and exercise good judgment” and “remain polite and courteous,” according to Electyions Canada.
Genge is charged with handing the ballot to the elector with instructions, ensures candidates’ representatives follow the guidelines about not politicking at a polling station, removing any “partisan material.”
One a person shows they are qualified, they are given their ballot.
Part of the system includes checking the ballot when it is returned to “verify it is the same ballot we gave them,” Genge elaborated.
Being one of the people who look after the ballots makes for a long day, she explained, and a day that doesn’t allow for many breaks because the polling boxes can never be left unattended.
“You’re mostly sitting,” Genge described.
“For a bathroom break, you have to put your hand up, like in school,” she related.
After the polls close, Genge will counts the ballots, complete the related forms and transport the ballot box and related materials to the returning officer.
Political parties can and do send observers to monitor the count, and they are not allowed to interfere in any way.