The legislative assembly is advertising for the job of chief electoral officer.
The current chief electoral officer, Nicole Latour, was appointed in November 2014 to a four-year term. Her contract ends at the end of October.
“A lot of people are concerned that I’m resigning and moving on, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Latour said on Monday.
She is welcome to reapply for her job, but has not yet decided if she will.
Latour oversaw the 2015 territorial election and played a key role in the 2011 election while serving as deputy chief electoral officer.
After the last election, Latour submitted a white paper to the legislative assembly on independence and accountability in elections administration that contained dozens of recommendations.
Among them was one to extend the term of the chief electoral officer.
“The term of office for the CEO (chief electoral officer) in the NWT is the shortest in Canada and, for several reasons, it is not good practice for CEO appointments to be this short,” states the white paper.
The document goes on to say that four years is not enough time to become “completely familiar with the role and to be able to add value to the election administration process, which can only occur following the experience of delivering an election event.”
The white paper suggests rewriting the Elections and Plebiscites Act to accommodate this recommendation, and others.
The way general elections are run in the territory, said Latour, is a “really, really important issue, but it’s not very sexy for a lot of people.”
Jackson Lafferty, speaker of the legislative assembly, said the job ad does not mean there has been a decision not to reappoint Latour.
“Expressions of interest have been sought at the end of every four-year term since 2007 when the position transitioned from a staff position to that of an independent statutory officer,” wrote Lafferty in an email on Tuesday.
“The Board of Management encourages the current CEO to express her interest.”
In an interview Monday, Latour said her office is working on “some really cool, innovative things,” noting a project aimed at inspiring young people to vote.
“Kids know that at 16 they can get a drivers’ licence and at 19 they can get into a licensed premises, but (not many) of them really know at 18 that they’re an eligible elector and that they can cast a ballot,” she added.
Latour also wants to see more Yellowknifers participate in elections.
She said 67 per cent of eligible Yellowknife residents did not vote in the last territorial election.
“It’s shocking,” she said.
Latour believes online voting could go far in solving the problem of voter turnout.
Society is demanding it, she said.
“People are like, ‘Why can’t I vote online?’ and ‘When can I vote online?’”
Latour is an Indigneous Northerner who grew up in small communities.
She has a degree in commerce and a background in adult education and graphic design.
Her professional life has been equally diverse, with stints as mayor of Fort Liard and a coroner in Yellowknife and as a sergeant at arms for the legislative assembly.