The Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for ensuring that the Elections Act is complied with and enforced.
Prior to changes made to the Act in 2012, the only enforcement tool in the Act was prosecution.
The new Act has enhanced the compliance role of the Chief Electoral Officer.
The Chief Electoral Officer has been given authority to conclude a compliance agreement with anyone the Chief Electoral Officer believes on reasonable grounds has committed, is about to commit or is likely to commit an act or omission that could constitute an offence.
A compliance agreement is a voluntary agreement between the Chief Electoral Officer and the person (the contracting party) in which they agree to terms and conditions that the Chief Electoral Officer considers necessary to ensure compliance with the Act.
A compliance agreement may include a statement by the contracting party in which he or she admits responsibility for the act or omission that constitutes the offence. It is important to note that the admission of responsibility does not constitute a criminal conviction by a Court of law and does not create a criminal record for the contracting party.
In order to maintain transparency, a notice that sets out the contracting party's name, the act or omission in question and a summary of the compliance agreement is made public.