Visiting Elections Ontario, Loren Wells and Greg Essensa

On Friday, 7 of us made the long trip out to Scarborough to visit the Elections Ontario office while it is full swing. We met with Loren Wells and Greg Essensa, Deputy Chief and Chief Electoral Officers for the Province of Ontario. We learned about the details of administering the Election’s Act and the Election’s Finance Act, and were blown away by how much Elections Ontario is responsible for – from hiring 80,000 people on election day to ordering the pencils used to mark ballots. We were able to realize the scale of an election in a province as big as Ontario; the Office sent off 58 18-wheeler trucks to distribute election material and receives over 5,000 election-related questions at its call center each day. Ms. Wells and Mr. Essensa shared their vision for Elections Ontario, which aims to put the voters at the centre of the process and to make voting as easy and accessible as possible. The Office arranges home voting for those who are disabled, and will be piloting online voting in the coming year. It was also interesting to learn about the Office’s “Minority Strategy,” their plan of action in the event that there is a minority government and an election can be called any day. Finally, it was great to learn from the Electoral Officer’s themselves, who have extensive experience overseeing elections across Canada and internationally.

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