Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting of June 13–14, 2013
Improving Compliance with Voting Day Procedures
Rennie Molnar (Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Events) provided an overview of Elections Canada's action plan for improving compliance. An information sheet ("placemat") and presentation were provided.
Questions were raised about moving to an electronic system for providing reports to political parties on electors who have voted ("bingo sheets"). Mr. Molnar noted that the automation of these reports is linked to the new voting model that we plan to pilot during the next general election and that the reports could be available in real time. Mr. Molnar added that the challenge will be to have appropriate technology available at all polling sites for this to work.
It was suggested that allowing new registrations on the E-Registration service would help to increase registration rates among youth. Mr. Molnar noted that there are barriers to this, including signature requirements and confirming identity. Mr. Molnar added that most new voters are picked up by other means, such as income tax returns, drivers' licences, and citizenship applications. With respect to registration and new citizens, Mr. Molnar explained that when citizenship applicants submit an application, there is an option for them to consent to be added to the National Registry of Electors once their citizenship is confirmed. Over 90% of them do so. There are also new citizens who register during elections, and Elections Canada receives information from provincial voters' lists and from income tax returns.
Another suggestion was to recruit 16- and 17-year-olds to work at the polls as a part of a school credit. The CEO indicated that although we do encourage returning officers to hire these young people for some election-day jobs, there are issues with this proposal: the Act stipulates that election workers have to be 18 years old; electoral work does not currently meet volunteer hour requirements in secondary schools; and students are typically required to be in class on election day if the election takes place during the school year.