Section 114 of the Prince Edward Island Election Act says, in part:
The Chief Electoral Officer shall, subject to this Act, retain in his or her possession the papers transmitted to him or her by any returning officer, with the return, for at least three months.
What this means in practice is that the ballot boxes, along with their contents (ballots, poll books) are delivered to Elections PEI and stored for at least three months after the election.
After three months Elections PEI destroys the ballot boxes, something done in recent years at the incinerator in Charlottetown (they had to seek special dispensation to allow this to happen after the Waste Watch program was introduced, as such materials would normally be slated to be composted, which is not a sufficiently rigorous method of destruction for these purposes).
The incinerator in question drives the Charlottetown District Energy System, which provides hot water to heat many of the buildings in downtown Charlottetown, including Province House, home to the Legislative Assembly of PEI.
That would be the same Legislative Assembly the members of which are elected using the ballots inside those ballot boxes.
This past week happened to be the week that this all happened; good timing given how cold it has been.
There’s something very appropriate about all this.