FAQs on Registration

Basics

Maintaining voter registration information

E-Registration (online voter registration service)

Help and more info


Basics

Do I have to register before I can vote?

Yes. Here's how to register.

Most eligible voters are already registered in the National Register of Electors, the permanent database of Canadians qualified to vote in federal elections.


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How do I register to vote? Am I registered to vote already?

To register to vote in future federal elections:

Sign your completed registration form and mail or fax it to us, along with copies of your proof of identity and home address. We will register you by including your name in the National Register of Electors.

After an election is called, you may also register at your local Elections Canada office or polling place.

Most electors are already registered in the National Register of Electors (the Register), a database of Canadian electors who are qualified to vote in federal elections and referendums. Elections Canada continually updates the Register using information provided by government agencies from income tax forms, citizenship applications, driver's licence records, provincial permanent voters lists, as well as other information sources. We use the information in the Register to create voters lists (lists of electors).

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How do I update my voter registration information?

To update your existing voter registration:

In most cases, your update request can be completed through the E-Registration service or over the phone.

In some cases, you may be asked to mail or fax a signed form and copies of your proof of identity and address. The E-Registration service or staff on our phone line will explain what's required in your situation, and give you the right form, if one is required.

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I moved recently. Am I still registered to vote?

If you were registered before you moved, you are likely still registered. However, you may need to update the address on your voter registration file.

It's possible we received your new address from another source, like the Canada Revenue Agency or your provincial or territorial driver's licence agency or elections agency. We use several sources to update voter registration information.

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I'm a new citizen. How do I register to vote?

To register to vote in federal elections, or to find out if you're already registered:

You may already be registered to vote. When you completed your citizenship application form, you may have ticked a box agreeing that, if you do become a citizen, you allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada to give your name, gender, address and date of birth to Elections Canada for voter registration. If you ticked this box, you are likely already registered to vote. You may use the E-Registration service or call us to confirm that you're registered at your current address.

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I'm a Canadian living abroad. Can I register now to vote in future federal elections?

Yes. For more information, please see this backgrounder: Registration and Voting Processes for Canadians Who Live Abroad.

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Maintaining voter registration information

How does Elections Canada keep voter registrations accurate and up to date?

We keep voter registration information in a database called the National Register of Electors, which we update regularly using information from several sources. The National Register of Electors has a high level of coverage and currency. As of November 2011, it included 93% of all electors, and 86% of those were registered at their current address.

People who register or update their registration must affirm that the information they provide is current and correct. Under the Canada Elections Act, it's illegal to make false statements about voter registration information, and those convicted face penalties.

As a final check before voters may cast their ballots, polling place staff ask them to prove their identity and home address. The information on the voter's proof of identity and home address must match the information on the voters list. If there is an omission or error on the voters list, the voter can request a correction.

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What is the National Register of Electors?

The National Register of Electors (the Register) is the permanent database of Canadians aged 18 and older who are qualified to vote in federal elections and referendums. Created in 1997, the Register is continually updated using federal, provincial and territorial administrative and electoral data sources. Elections Canada uses information from the National Register of Electors to produce voters lists (lists of electors).

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Can I opt out of the National Register of Electors and keep my right to vote?

Yes. Learn more about opting out of the National Register of Electors.

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What is a voters list (list of electors)?

A voters list (list of electors) shows all of the people who are registered to vote in a particular polling division (area within a riding). Voters lists are based on information in the National Register of Electors, the permanent database of Canadians aged 18 and older who are qualified to vote in federal elections and referendums.

When you go to your polling place to vote, staff ask for your proof of identity and home address and look you up on the voters list.

Note: You must vote at the polling place set up for your polling division, the specific part of the riding where your home is located. During elections, the Voter Information Service will tell you exactly where to vote, based on your home address. Your voter information card will also tell you when and where to vote.

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Do you share voter registration information with other agencies or groups?

Yes. Elections Canada shares voter registration information from the National Register of Electors – name, address, date of birth, gender and unique identifier number – with most provincial and territorial elections agencies and with some municipalities, upon request and where data sharing agreements exist. Elections Canada agreements include conditions on data use. Sharing voter registration information improves the accuracy of voters lists, makes it easier for people to vote, and saves taxpayer money. Learn more about how we share voter registration information with other elections agencies.

As required by the Canada Elections Act, we also provide voters lists (containing name, address and unique identifier number) to political candidates, members of Parliament and registered political parties, who may use the information for specific, authorized purposes. The Guidelines on Use of the Lists of Electors explain what information is shared with MPs, parties and candidates, when it is shared and how they are authorized to use it.

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If I update my voter registration with Elections Canada, will the update be sent to my provincial, territorial or municipal elections agency?

It may be, after a delay. Elections Canada shares voter registration information – name, address, date of birth, gender and unique identifier number – with the elections agencies in most provinces and territories and with some municipalities, upon request. There is often a delay of several weeks or months before the voter information is sent and gets reflected in the respective provincial, territorial and municipal voters lists.

If your province or territory is having an election (or is about to have one), please contact your provincial or territorial elections agency directly to register or update your registration. Likewise, if there is an upcoming election in your municipality, please contact your municipality directly.

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My loved one passed away. How do I cancel their voter registration?

To cancel the voter registration of a deceased person (remove their name from the voters list), please call Elections Canada.

Elections Canada receives notices of deaths from most provincial and territorial vital statistics agencies, the Canada Revenue Agency, and provincial elections agencies with permanent voters lists. We use this information to remove the names of the deceased from federal voters lists.

E-Registration (online voter registration service)

What is E-Registration?

E-Registration is Elections Canada's new online voter registration service.

The E-Registration service lets you:

Most registration requests can be completed online. For the others, E-Registration fills in a printable form that you can sign and submit by mail or fax, along with copies of your proof of identity and address.

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Who can use the E-Registration service?

The E-Registration service is for people who are qualified to vote: Canadian citizens aged 18 and older.

The E-Registration service is not for:

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What do I need to use the E-Registration service?

To confirm whether you're registered or to update your address, you must provide your name, address and date of birth.

For some transactions, you may complete your request online if you provide your driver's licence number. If you cannot provide a driver's licence number, or if you are registering for the first time, you can complete your request off-line. E-Registration will put the information you entered in a printable form. Print and sign this form and send it to us by fax or mail, along with copies of your proof of identity and home address.

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If I update my address through the E-Registration service, will you give my new address to the driver's licence agency?

No. You must contact your driver's licence agency directly to update your address with them. Elections Canada does not provide any information to driver's licence agencies.

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If I use the E-Registration service on a public computer, should I take extra steps to protect my privacy?

Yes. If you use the E-Registration service on a computer in a library, Internet café or other public place, you should take extra steps. This is the usual practice for shared computers. After you've used the E-Registration service:

Your web browser is the computer program that lets you see web pages. Some popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Browsers have a "cache," a temporary storage area that tracks information on the web pages you visit. To maintain your privacy on a public computer, clear the browser's cache after each session.

How to clear your web browser cache – instructions for different browsers

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Will the E-Registration service be used for online voting?

No. The E-Registration service handles voter registration requests. It is not a tool to vote online.

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Help and more info

Where can I get help with the E-Registration service and voter registration?

For help with the E-Registration service and registration in general, contact Elections Canada by phone, fax, e-mail or postal mail.

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Learn more about voter registration

Revision, the process of updating voter registrations during election periods

Voter registration at the polls

The National Register of Electors