Revision of the Lists of Electors
Elections Canada produces preliminary lists of electors for federal elections, by-elections and referendums, using information from the National Register of Electors. Returning officers then update the lists for each riding during the revision period.
The National Register of Electors is a database of Canadians who are qualified to vote. It contains basic information about each person – name, sex, date of birth and address. The Register may also be used to produce lists of electors for provinces, territories, municipalities and school boards that have signed agreements for that purpose, as permitted by the Canada Elections Act and provincial statutes.
The revision period usually begins 33 days before election day. This 28-day period ends at 6:00 p.m. on the sixth day before election day.
During the revision period, electors may:
- correct their names and addresses on the lists of electors
- add their names to those lists
- ask that the names of electors be deleted (for example, those of deceased electors)
- until the 14th day before election day, file an objection against another elector, disputing the right of that person to be on the lists of electors for the riding
Correcting name and address information
Between the 26th and the 24th days before election day, each returning officer sends a voter information card to every person in the electoral district whose name is on the preliminary lists of electors.
If the name or address on the card is incorrect, the elector may contact the returning officer in person or by telephone, fax or mail to make the correction. In most cases, the returning officer will ask the elector for additional information as proof of identity.
Adding a name
An elector who does not receive a voter information card or who knows that he or she is not registered in the electoral district may ask the returning officer for a registration form in person, or by telephone, fax or mail. The elector then returns the completed form to the returning officer in person, or by fax or mail.
If the elector is not listed in the National Register of Electors, he or she must provide documents proving the elector's identity and address:
- one document that shows the elector's name, address and signature (such as a driver's licence)
- two pieces of identification, one with the elector's name and address and the other with the elector's name and signature
- an affidavit signed before a person authorized to receive oaths in the province or territory and showing the name, current address of ordinary residence and signature of the elector, or
- when the elector cannot provide any of these documents, a document showing the name and current address of ordinary residence of the elector's spouse or of the person on whom the elector is dependent. Both the elector to be registered and the person whose name appears on this document must be present at the time it is offered, and they must reside at the same address.
An elector may register:
- other electors who live at the same address, by completing a registration form and swearing an oath in the presence of the revising agents at the elector's residence
- another elector who does not live at the same address, with written authorization and proofs of identity at the local Elections Canada office
Deleting a name
An elector, or a friend or relative of an elector, may apply to the local Elections Canada office to have the elector's name removed from a list of electors. Usually, such a request is made when someone is not qualified to vote, or when an elector who is a friend or relative has died. Proof of identity and proof of death, when applicable, are required.
One elector may file an objection against another, disputing the right of that person to be on the lists of electors for the electoral district. The objector must file an affidavit of objection with the returning officer between the issue of the writs and the 14th day before election day. The returning officer then formally notifies the person against whom the objection has been filed, and the candidates in the riding, and convenes a hearing. The person objected to, his or her representatives, the objector and candidates' representatives may attend. The onus is on the objector to establish that the name of the person objected to should be deleted.
In consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer and other partners, the returning officer may determine that certain areas of an electoral district – especially new residential developments, areas known for high population mobility, student neighbourhoods, nursing homes and chronic care facilities – should be subject to targeted revision.
Starting in the second week of the election period, pairs of revising agents visit the targeted addresses. Electors thus have an additional opportunity to register. After two visits without reaching an elector, the agents will leave a mail-in registration package at the door.
For chronic care facilities, revising agents will visit electors in person to collect applications for registration.
The Act entitles revising agents to gain access to apartment buildings, condominium buildings or other multiple-residence buildings or gated communities unless the building's administrator believes that residents' physical or emotional well-being could be harmed.
Registering to vote after the revision period ends
To have your name added to the voters list at the polling station, you must prove your identity and address. You can do this in one of three ways:
- provide one original piece of identification issued by any level of Canadian government or an agency of that government that contains the elector's photo, name and address; or
- provide two original pieces of identification from a list authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Both must contain the name of the elector and one must also contain the elector's address; or
- be vouched for by an elector whose name appears on the list of electors in the same polling division and who has an acceptable piece or pieces of identification. Both will be required to make a sworn statement. An elector cannot vouch for more than one person, and the person who has been vouched for cannot vouch for another elector.
Eligibility to vote
An elector must be registered and prove his or her identity and place of residence using one of the three accepted methods before he or she can vote. An elector is eligible to register if he or she is:
- a Canadian citizen
- at least 18 years old on election day
- ordinarily resident in the electoral district
For a by-election, an elector must reside in the electoral district from the 33rd day before election day (the day on which revision begins) to election day.