Preparing for the 2019 General Election
Planning for a general election is a lot of work. We started preparing for the 2019 federal general election in 2015. We are working to improve the voting experience, strengthen electoral security and make processes easier for election workers. As we refine our services, we will update this page.
- Strengthening election security
- Easier process at advance and election day polling places
- More advance polls and longer hours
- Improved service at Elections Canada offices
- More on-campus voting
- Working with Indigenous communities
- Better community relations
- Online voter registration
- The distance to your polling place
- Redesigned ballot
Strengthening election security
The environment in which elections take place is changing. Experts continue to identify threats to Canada's democracy, ranging from foreign interference and influence efforts to cyber-attacks and attempts at disinformation. Elections Canada is paying careful attention to these threats to democracy. We are working to limit the impact, within the bounds of our legal mandate and relying on the assistance of security agencies. Learn more about election security.
Easier process at advance and election day polls
For the 2019 general election and any upcoming by-elections, our staff will use a simpler paper process at advance and election day polls. We reduced and simplified processes for faster and smoother service for voters. The new process will also reduce our environmental footprint.
More advance polls and longer hours
More and more Canadian electors are voting before election day. In the 2015 election, there was a 75% increase in votes cast at advance polls. In anticipation of high demand, we are extending hours at all advance polls from noon– 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. We also plan to have more advance voting sites to give Canadians more convenient options.
Improved service at Elections Canada offices
We will use a one-stop shop approach to improve service to electors. One agent can now add or update your information on the list of electors and register you to vote by special ballot. You can vote any time after the election is called up to six days before election day in any Elections Canada office across the country. We plan to have over 600 offices open for the next general election. We expect the time needed to vote in Elections Canada offices will be cut in half.
More on-campus voting
In the last general election, we offered special ballot voting services in 39 post-secondary institutions. For the 2019 general election, we are working to expand these services to more than 115 campuses across Canada. Using the same new one-stop shop approach as our Elections Canada offices, electors can vote on campus at more locations as an early voting option. On-campus voting will be available on select days to be announced later.
Working with Indigenous communities
Elections Canada is working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to offer better election services in their communities. One improvement, which is guided by our recently updated polling place selection policy, is to increase the number of advance and election day polling places on reserves. Returning officers began reaching out to these communities in the summer of 2018.
Elections Canada has also launched a pilot project in 87 remote communities across 27 electoral districts where barriers to registration and voting were found to be higher than elsewhere. This project will help returning officers build ongoing relationships with community leaders to plan election services for their communities.
Better community relations
We are enhancing the Community Relations Officer program for the next general election. Community relations officers work with local leaders to improve access to registration and voting in communities. These officers provide information on when, where and ways to register and vote, as well as on the tools and services available to voters. For the 2019 election, the program will include opportunities for Métis communities and official language minority communities.
Online voter registration
We have recently added the Secure Online Document Submission service to our online voter registration service to help electors who want to register but who do not have a driver's licence or an accepted provincial or territorial ID card. Eligible electors can always use our online voter registration service to register to vote or to check and update their registration information, including Canadians living at non-standard addresses such as First Nations reserves.
The distance to your polling place
We are using new and improved geography services to help returning officers decrease the travel time between your home and your polling place. Returning officers will also be able to use the new tools to draw polling place boundaries that make sense to electors, grouping neighbourhoods and communities together. Our new software will tell returning officers if another polling place is closer for a voter. It will also tell them if there are voters who have to travel longer than other voters in the area. This will be particularly beneficial to electors in rural areas.
We consulted persons with disabilities, the general public and other stakeholders to redesign the ballot. It is now much more accessible and eco-friendly.
We debuted the new design in the December 3rd by-election in Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. The new ballot is two inches wider to improve handling. We have also made the background grey instead of black, increased the font sizes and substituted dots with dashes—all to improve readability and optical character recognition (OCR) by screen readers.
Our printing methods have also improved to reduce waste. Also, the ballot is now printed on 30% recycled paper. The changes to the ballot conform to the Canada Elections Act and maintain all existing security features.
After each federal election, Elections Canada conducts surveys to better understand the experiences of electors, political entities and election workers. We use this information to improve our services to meet the needs and expectations of Canadians.
Following the 2015 general election, the agency surveyed electors, candidates, election officers, returning officers and political parties. The survey findings are in the Report on the 42nd General Election of October 19, 2015 and the Retrospective Report on the 42nd General Election of October 19, 2015.