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Electoral Insight – Review of Electoral Systems

Electoral Insight – June 1999

The Chief Electoral Officer's Message
Review of Electoral Systems

Jean-Pierre Kingsley
Jean-Pierre Kingsley
Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Elections Canada created Electoral Insight as a forum for discussing the electoral process, and to encourage the collaborative spirit that is growing among electoral agencies and our stakeholders and partners. We hope everyone concerned with electoral matters will use it to exchange knowledge and to inform Canadians about important issues.

In recent years, the environment and dynamics of electoral administration have changed significantly. Many countries have undergone democratization, new technologies have emerged, governments have rationalized their operations and become more accountable. As a result of these and other factors, collaboration among electoral organizations, government and the private sector has grown. The information exchange that accompanies such collaboration often leads to new methods that increase the effectiveness and accessibility of the electoral process.

The National Register of Electors exemplifies this kind of productive collaboration. The Register grew out of an electronic list of electors created by Elections Canada with the co-operation of the public sector in 1992. The 1996 legislation that established the Register permits further collaboration, and the Chief Electoral Officer has concluded agreements with federal, provincial and territorial departments to update it and with provincial electoral agencies to share data for electoral purposes.

Our involvement on the international front, which is based on bilateral or multilateral partnerships, is another example. No longer only election observers, we also provide professional electoral assistance, and we learn much from these exchanges.

Further examples include the Advisory Committee of Registered Political Parties, which I chair, and our research program. The Advisory Committee furthers better mutual understanding of electoral procedures and the search for useful alternatives. And through our research program, we have established links with the academic community and other research centres.

Electoral Insight will be published biannually and include articles about Canada and other jurisdictions, by academics, our staff, other election officers, and the public. I welcome your comments to make it a better product.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.