Northern Canada: Election Day in Northwest Territories

Voters in Inuvik head into the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex Nov. 23 to vote in the 2015 Northwest Territories election. The 2019 election is Tuesday, Oct. 1. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
It’s election day across the Northwest Territories, and 58 candidates are seeking to represent voters in the territory’s next legislative assembly.

Residents in three of the territory’s electoral districts will not be heading to the polls today: Hay River North’s R.J. Simpson, Monfwi’s Jackson Lafferty, and Mackenzie Delta’s Frederick Blake Jr. were all acclaimed.

However, for voters in the territory’s sixteen other ridings, here’s what you need to know to cast your ballot.

Voter eligibility

To be eligible to vote in the Northwest Territories election you must be a Canadian citizen age 18 or older, and you have to have been a resident of N.W.T. for 6 months as of Oct. 1, 2019.

If you are eligible to vote but you’re not on the voters list, you can still vote by registering at the polling station.

At the polls

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can find your polling station here.

Eligible voters will have to prove their identity to elections staff in order to receive a ballot. Acceptable identification includes:

If you lack ID, another registered voter in your district who has ID can vouch for your identity, but you will both need to take oaths.


Marking the ballot is done in secret, behind a screen. Ballots will have candidates’ names in alphabetical order. If you need help to mark the ballot, you can have a friend or relative help you but they need to sign an oath that they will never tell anyone how you voted.

The deputy returning officer can also help you mark the ballot. Candidates and their official agents are not allowed to help voters mark ballots.

If you make a mistake in marking the ballot, tell the poll staff. They will take the ballot, mark it as spoiled, and issue you a new one.

You can also choose to decline your ballot. Your ballot will be counted as declined and you can’t try to vote again later.

Polling station rules

After you vote, you must leave the polling station immediately.

Recording devices are not permitted inside the polling station.


For the first time, residents in the N.W.T. have the option to vote online, but it’s not open to everyone.

In order to vote online, you’ll have to have registered for an absentee ballot before Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. MT. If you did, you’ve received an email with a unique PIN and a link to vote.

Click on that link. You’ll need to provide some “shared secrets” — information like your birthday and email address — and your PIN in order to vote.

If you’ve got your message with your unique PIN, you have until 7:59 p.m. to cast your ballot. As the clock gets closer to the deadline, you’ll be given a countdown of a few minutes to make your choice.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod not seeking re-election, CBC News

Finland: Sámi Parliament of Finland torn on local rights, urban influence, Yle News

Norway: Political earthquake shakes up Northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Career diplomat to represent Murmansk region in Russian senate, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: What the budget says about Sweden’s minority government, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska governor accepts reduced dividends, upholds most vetoes, Alaska Public Media

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