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FAQs on Registration

Basics

Maintaining voter registration information

Online voter registration


Basics

Do I have to be registered in order to vote?

Yes. Here's how to register.


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Am I already registered to vote?

Check online to see if you're registered to vote in federal elections.

If you can't check online, you can call us to ask if you're registered.

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?

To register to vote in future federal elections:

After an election is called, you can also register at your local Elections Canada office or at your polling place when you go to vote.

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How do I update my address on my voter registration?

Update your address online, using the online voter registration service.

If you cannot update your address through the online service, contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

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How do I make changes to my voter registration information?

To update your address, use the online service or contact us to request a registration form

To change your name or make other kinds of registration updates, please contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

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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 your address.

Check online to see if you are registered at your current address or learn how to update your address.

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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If I register by mail, what types of identity documents are accepted?

If you register by mail, you must include a photocopy of your proof of identity and address document(s). We accept:

If some of the information appears on the back of the document(s), you must photocopy both sides.

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If I register online, what types of identity documents are accepted?

If you register online, you must provide the number from:

The online service accepts numbers from these cards because we have data sharing agreements in place with these sources. If you do not have one of the cards accepted online, you can register by mail.

*In Quebec, driver's licence data is reflected in the information Elections Canada receives from the Directeur général des élections du Québec.

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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 2014, it included 92% of all electors, and 84% 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 provides voter registration information from the National Register of Electors – name, address, date of birth, gender and unique identifier number – to most provincial and territorial elections agencies (exceptions are Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon), 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 contact Elections Canada. We will walk you through the steps.

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.

Online voter registration

I updated my address online with Elections Canada. Will you give my new address to the driver's licence bureau?

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

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If I use the online registration service on a public computer, should I take extra steps to protect my privacy?

Yes. If you use the service in a public place like a library, take these steps:

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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You offer online voter registration. Does this mean I can vote online?

No. We do not offer online voting.

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Learn more about voter registration

The National Register of Electors

Revision, the process of updating voter registrations during election periods