Here’s how voting by mail will work in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh

Elections NWT has decided to hold the upcoming by-election in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh entirely by mail-in ballot to try and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

In announcing his intention to run again for the seat, Steve Norn said he had concerns around having the election by mail and the security of doing so.

Stephen Dunbar, the newly-appointed chief electoral officer, explained that all candidates will be allowed to have one polling agent per poll present when votes will be counted. He added that Elections NWT is looking into into live streaming the count if polling agents can’t be there in person.

As for security of casting your ballot, voters that are on the voter list by Jan. 14 “will be receiving an envelope with their ballot, a privacy envelope to put their ballot in, the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope, into which the privacy ballot is put, and a pre-addressed and stamped return envelope to send it back to Elections NWT.”

Elections NWT has also hired assistant returning officers in Łutselk’e and Fort Resolution to help answer any questions. They are Jeanette Lockhart in Łutselk’e and Lorraine Villeneuve in Fort Resolution. They can also pick up the completed ballot packages from voters.

Election day is on Feb. 8. On that day, the assistant returning officers will be bringing all the completed ballot packages that haven’t been mailed to Elections NWT.

“We encourage any voters who cast their votes after January 28 to consider contacting their (assistant returning officers) on the best way to get it to Elections NWT before February 8,” wrote Dunbar in an email.

As for voters in Dettah and Ndılǫ, they can drop off their ballot packages to the retuning officer on the first floor of the Deton Cho building or at Elections NWT on the third floor of YK Centre East.

“When a package is received at Elections NWT, the Absentee Ballot Certificate Envelope will be scanned and entered, and that elector will then be marked as having voted, provided that the envelope was signed and dated by the elector. The envelope will then be opened and the privacy envelope containing the ballot will be placed in the appropriate poll’s ballot box. The privacy envelope will not be opened until the ballot box is opened for counting after 8pm on February 8th. This ensures that no one will know how any elector voted.”

Anyone with question can also reach out to the constituency returning officer Amanda Mallon at

Updated Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m.: A previous version of this story said Antoinette Lafferty was the returning officer for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh. Elections NWT has since updated its website and, in fact, Amanda Mallon is now the returning officer. 

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.