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Survey of Electors Following the 41st General Election

Voter Information Card and Registration

This section explores issues related to voter registration and the Voter Information Card.

Widespread Recall of Voter Information Card

In total, 91% of respondents aware that a federal election took place on May 2nd, 2011 said they recalled receiving a Voter Information Card that was addressed to them personally and telling them where and when to vote. Conversely, 8% did not recall receiving the card.

Aboriginals and youth were less likely than the general population to recall receiving a Voter Information Card. Eighty-four percent of Aboriginals did so, while only 70% of youth remembered receiving the card.Recall of Voter Information Card graph
Text description of "Recall of Voter Information Card" graph

Sociodemographic differences

The likelihood of recalling having received a Voter Information Card was highest amongst:

  • Electors with university degrees and with community college education (92‑93% vs. 86‑89% of others).
  • Francophones (95% vs. 90% of Anglophones).
  • Electors who stay at home full-time (95%), followed by those who are employed (91% vs. 76‑80% of others).
  • Those who are interested in politics (92% vs. 87% who are not interested).
  • Those who followed the campaign closely (93% vs. 88% who did not).
  • Those who reported voting in the 2011 federal election (94% vs. 77% who said they did not vote).

There was a positive relationship between age and the likelihood of recalling receipt of a Voter Information Card. Seventy percent of electors under 25 recalled receiving the card, compared with 91% of those aged 25‑44 and 96% aged 45 and over.

These results reflect a slight increase in elector recall of receiving the Voter Information Card over both the 2008 and 2006 general elections.

There was essentially no change in recall of receiving the Voter Information Card amongst youth in 2011 compared to 2008 (70% vs. 69%). There was a more substantial increase in such recall amongst Aboriginals (84% vs. 75%).Recall of Voter Information Card (Over Time) graph
Text description of "Recall of Voter Information Card (Over Time)" graph

Nearly All Describe Information on Voter Information Card as Accurate

Nearly all respondents who recalled receiving a Voter Information Card described the information on it as accurate. Specifically, 97% said their name was correct and 98% said their address was correct.

Among those who said that their Voter Information Card included inaccurate information (n = 113), 51% said they did something to correct the incorrect information.

Sociodemographic differences

Student were least likely to report that their name was correct on the card they received (91% vs. 97‑99% of others), but did not report a lower rate of accuracy in their address.

Aboriginals living off a reserve were less likely than those living on a reserve to say that their address was correct (94% vs. 99%).

Information Recalled from Voter Information Card

Respondents who recalled receiving the Voter Information Card (n=3,146) were asked if they recalled any of the information provided on this card. The most frequently recalled type of information, by far, was information on where to vote (83%). Without calling this result into question, it should be kept in mind that recall of this information may have been aided by the fact that the question asking respondents if they received a Voter Information Card specified that this card contained information on where and when to vote. This element was recalled less frequently by youth (74%) and Aboriginals (70%).

One-third recalled information about the election date, while 28% recalled information about voting hours. Also recalled with some frequency were one's name and address (9%), and information about voters needing to prove their ID/address to vote (7%). Smaller numbers (4% or less) recalled a telephone number, information on advance polls, that the card cannot be used as ID at the polls, and voting information in general. Included in the 'other' category are a reminder to vote, information about voting by mail, voting at a local Elections Canada office, or special voting rules, the Elections Canada website address, and what to do if information on the card is incorrect.

One in ten did not recall any specific type of information being provided on the card. This proportion is almost identical to 2008, when 9% did not recall any information on the Voter Information Card.

Recall of Information on Voter Information Card graph
Text description of "Recall of Information on Voter Information Card" graph

Sociodemographic differences

The likelihood of not recalling any information provided on the Voter Information Card was highest amongst:

  • Electors with high school education or less (14%), followed by those with some university (13% vs. 6‑9% of others).
  • Anglophones (11% vs. 6% of Francophones).
  • Those who are not interested in politics (20% vs. 8% who are interested).
  • Those who did not follow the campaign closely (19% vs. 7% who did).
  • Those who said they did not vote in the 2011 election (28% vs. 7% of those who said they did vote).

Over Six in Ten Did Not Take Action to Confirm Registration

Respondents who could not recall receiving the Voter Information Card (n=330) were asked to identify what they did, if anything, to find out whether they were registered to vote in the election. The largest proportion, roughly six in ten (63%), said they either did nothing (34%), waited to find out at the polling station (24%) or simply assumed that they were registered (5%). Among those who took action, 11% called Election Canada's 1‑800 number, 9% visited Elections Canada's website, 6% consulted family or friends and 3% consulted candidates or party offices. A small number (2%) said they informed a revising agent who visited them at home. The patterns are roughly the same than in 2008.

Actions grouped in the 'other' category include trying to get information through a municipal newspaper, and comments from people specifying that they were not registered to vote because they had recently moved or had been out of the country.

It is worth noting that 4% said they called the phone number on the Voter Information Card even though these respondents did not recall receiving the Voter Information Card.

Actions Taken to Determine if Registered to Vote graph
Text description of "Actions Taken to Determine if Registered to Vote" graph

Sociodemographic differences

Those who said they did not vote in the 2011 election were more likely to say they did nothing specific than those who said they did vote (67% vs. 14%).