An Interview With Jaclyn Casler, OneFeather Chief Electoral Officer

It's been almost a year since Jaclyn Casler joined OneFeather as Chief Electoral Officer in June, 2018. Here is a short Q&A with Jaclyn, discussing her role and her values as a leader of the OneFeather team.

Q: What does a Chief Electoral Officer do at OneFeather?

Jaclyn Casler (JC): As Chief Electoral Officer I typically run multiple, simultaneous voting events across Canada. My role is to ensure everything goes exactly according to plan and happens on schedule. As well, the rules that govern a particular voting event can differ depending on the event and the Nation, so I ensure that the project plan and deliverables for each event match or even succeed those requirements.

My responsibilities include everything to do with voting: sales, project planning, coordinating nominations, creating notices and other documentation as well as printing and then mailing everything out. I also provide to coordination and support during election days, and report results, and perform records management.

For each voting event, I normally make at least two trips into a community. So, I am am traveling to manage at least one or two voting events across Canada each week.

As we continue to work with more First Nations across Canada and build the OneFeather team, I will focus more on quality control and training, and will be responsible for managing operations.

Q: What experience and qualifications did you bring into your role?

JC: I came into this job by accident. Because I had previously worked in federal, provincial and municipal elections I had a general understanding of what Chief Electoral Officer does. Since joining OneFeather I have learned a lot on the job, and I am now a federally certified electoral officer.

I used to think I wanted a career in politics but then I discovered administration, which I found to be much more compelling. I went on to complete a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Victoria. I take great pride in my job as Chief Electoral Officer at OneFeather and I find it very satisfying how each and every day, every part of my job has an immediate impact for voters across Canada.

Q: What philosophy, interests and values guide your work as Chief Electoral Officer?

JC: My favourite part about working as OneFeather's Chief Electoral Officer is that I regularly meet and work with people all across Canada with similar interests, values and goals. For me, I would say my number-one value is “service”.

My phone will ring every day from 6am until 11pm with questions from members of the Nations we are working with. I enjoy these calls and texts and the challenge of keeping at top of mind, which Nation, which event, which rules and where we are in that particular timeline.

I also value "trust". When clients, stakeholders or voters ask me “why should I trust you?” I respond by saying, "My job is elections. This is all that I do."

So, I strive to be a very straightforward and transparent person. I say what I think, and I try to be as informative as possible with providing answers to questions.

I also like elections because they are immediate events with specific timelines. Finishing a voting contract is very satisfying. Even though election days are long (it's not unusual for me to work from 7am until midnight) I enjoy them.

I find that the days go quickly because of the people I work with, and the voters I serve as Chief Electoral Officer. Voting events are fun!

Q: What role does OneFeather fill in First Nations governance in Canada?

JC: OneFeather is a reliable, trusted third-party service for First Nations voting events. We are impartial and have no interest in the outcome of an election, referendum, ratification or other voting event, other than ensuring that a vote is conducted in accordance with the rules

In addition to the Electoral Officer services, we provide an online voting platform.

Even if a nation has their own Electoral Officer, we recommend the use of our online voting platform because, depending on the rules of the voting event, online voting greatly increases the opportunity for voter participation by off-reserve members.

Q: What's next for elections and voting with First Nations? What's next for OneFeather?

JC: OneFeather's goal is to become the Electoral and Ratification Officers of choice across Canada.

In order to achieve this goal, we are focusing on building our team and identifying possible resources across Canada so that we can deploy local talent for future voting events.

*OneFeather works with First Nations across Canada to provide digital solutions that enhance member engagement, increase member participation in important governance and community decision-making, all while alleviating administrative pain and reducing the costs associated with governance activities. *

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