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Demonstration Day: Management Response

On April 11, 2018, Elections Canada (EC) held its first Demonstration Day. EC invited several stakeholder groups representing electors who face barriers to electoral participation, and representatives from political parties and provincial electoral management bodies (EMBs). The objective of Demonstration Day was to allow these groups to experience several innovations in the way elections will be delivered in 2019 and provide feedback on them. These consultations would help us better understand the voter experience across the different voting methods, identify any risks associated with those methods and explore possible ways to mitigate those risks with better communications. Participants' feedback was collected using online surveys and focus-group discussions. The report, What We Heard on Demonstration Day: Findings From Surveys and Discussion Groups, was compiled and shared with all Demonstration Day participants in July 2018. The current document is a response from management to the findings of this report, presenting a high- level overview of how these findings have impacted EC's preparation for the 43rd general election (GE).

Ahead of the event, participants received early draft communication products regarding the Voter Information Campaign. On Demonstration Day, participants experienced voting on campus by special ballot, technology at the polls in the form of e-poll books and a simulation of the ordinary voting experience at a polling place on election day. In addition to these simulations and demonstrations, participants were invited to visit and provide feedback on six information kiosks presenting enhancements planned for the 43rd GE.

Project What We Did What You Said What We Will Do

Voter Information Campaign
  • at Demonstration Day: presented early draft communication products, creative concepts and designs for the Voter Information Campaign
  • after Demonstration Day: conducted two rounds of focus group testing with youth, Indigenous Canadians, new Canadians, Canadians with disabilities and the general population
  • liked the use of real people in visuals and the more colourful, modern, youthful approach
  • stressed the importance of reflecting Canada's diverse population in visuals and of using plain language
  • increase communications about accessibility tools and services available for voters, about how voters can bring their own adaptive devices to vote, about what voters can expect with different voting methods, and advance voting options
  • EC should leverage the expertise of campus organizations and tailor messages to students
  • EC should include way- finding signage in election day advertising visuals to better recognize the agency
  • final design for 43rd GE Voter Information Campaign expected in fall 2018 will reflect feedback and focus testing results
  • testing of targeted information products, such as products for students, with additional consultation with stakeholders working with specific target audiences
  • communication products will focus on one aspect of voting at a time, e.g. registration, advanced poll voting
  • visuals will reflect the diversity of Canadians and messages will be delivered in plain language
  • increase the promotion of accessibility services and devices available at polling locations and returning offices
  • the list of accepted forms of ID will be abbreviated in information products, with the full list on the EC website
  • way-finding signage will be included in some election day advertising visuals to increase familiarity with these images
  • including "working at an election" as a key theme in the pre-writ period of the Voter Information Campaign

Early Voting Options Vote on Campus Simulation
  • simulated new service model that electors will experience when voting at a local EC office or on one of over 110 select post-secondary campuses
  • the service offered quick and effective processing
  • more demanding process for the voter, e.g. writing the full name of the candidate on the ballot may not be a suitable option for all
  • poll workers gave too much information at once to voters
  • some confusion concerning the difference between voting on campus, special ballot voting, and voting on election day
  • increase communications about what to expect with different early voting options
  • direct poll workers to take a step-by-step approach to explaining special ballot voting processes
  • ensure to communicate information about the list of candidates at polling locations, e.g. posters directing voters to EC website for updated list of candidates

Technology at the Polls Electronic Poll Books
  • demonstrated the use of e-poll books at the polls
  • issues with accessibility of the iPads for electors and poll workers
  • concerns about elector privacy and security of the vote because of the use of technology
  • Given the high security and performance thresholds we set for e-poll books, the Chief Electoral Officer has decided not to deploy the technology for the 43rd general election. Our current plan is to use the technology at an event following the next general election.
  • Future technology deployment will take accessibility issues into consideration and we will consult further with the Advisory Group on Disability Issues and complete user testing with electors of varying abilities.

Optimized Process at the Polls Ordinary Voting at the Polls on Election Day
  • simulated voting at a polling place on election day to demonstrate the optimization of ordinary voting process
  • smoother voter service
  • satisfaction with improvements
  • need for better communication between poll workers and electors with disabilities
  • reinforce the Ask, Listen, Do universal service model for election worker training

Inspire Democracy
  • presented EC's work to address barriers to civic engagement, including program approach, products and materials
  • liked the use of products and materials to begin conversations about democracy and civic engagement
  • liked the connection between products and the election process, e.g. ID card holder for the back of cell phones
  • more information required on working at an election and voting through different voting processes
  • develop an Inspire Democracy module to communicate requirements of working at an election
  • update Inspire Democracy tools and resources related to registering and voting in an election that will clarify what electors can expect from each of the different voting options

Ballot Production Modernization
  • at Demonstration Day: displayed seven ballot redesign options and the changes to the ballot that are under consideration
  • after Demonstration Day: conduct focus group testing of eight ballot designs with people with physical, visual, cognitive disabilities and with the general population
  • after Demonstration Day: test technical proof of concept with print industry
  • positive response to changes made to the ballot for accessibility reasons
  • no consensus as to which design was preferred
  • pilot new design and production process in the fall 2018 by-elections
  • here are the features of the new ballot:
    • two inches wider to improve handling
    • improvements to readability including increased contrasting, making the background grey instead of black, increased font sizes for both the candidates and party name, replace dots with dashes because they are easier for optical character recognition technologies to read
    • reduction in waste through improved printing methods and printing on 30% recycled paper

Recruitment
  • presented opportunities for employment during an election
  • need for increased awareness about recruitment and requirements for working at an election
  • include "working at an election" in the key messages of an EC information campaign before the election and develop an Inspire Democracy module to communicate how to increase civic engagement by working at an election

Online Polling Place Locator Vote Now
  • demonstrated the online application that will tell voters where they can vote on any given day during an election period
  • well received by participants and representatives from other electoral management bodies
  • suggested the inclusion of accessibility information about the RO office and on- campus voting locations
  • provide information about the accessibility of the RO office and on-campus voting locations will be included in the tool
  • conduct user testing with electors with disabilities if we are able to find an appropriate hosting environment to conduct these tests
  • considering the development of a calendar of voter services available throughout the election period, specifically tailored towards our priority groups, to be included in the Inspire Democracy module on registering and voting in an election and possibly on our website