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Survey of Candidates of the 41st Federal General Election

Future Directions

This section explores candidates' perceptions of the appropriateness of online technology as it relates to voter participation, as well as suggestions for improving the conduct of future federal elections.

Internet Voting and Registration

This section presents the results for the questions related to candidates’ attitudes toward online registration and voting.

More Support for Online Elector Registration than Internet Voting

Almost three-quarters (74%) of surveyed candidates think that electors should be able to register by using the Internet. Candidates were more divided over the use of Internet voting, with far fewer, 51%, expressing support for this method of voting.

While support for online elector registration has not changed since 2008 (74% in 2011 vs. 75% in 2008), support for Internet voting has increased somewhat (from 46% in 2008 to 51% in 2011).

Support for Use of Online Technology

Text version of graph "Support for Use of Online Technology".

Sociodemographic Differences

Candidates from Atlantic Canada (82%) and first-time candidates (79%) were more supportive of online elector registration. Support for Internet voting increased as respondents' number of candidacies decreased (from 38% of the most experienced candidates to 58% of first-time candidates) and was higher among non-elected candidates (54% vs. 37% of those elected) and candidates who were members of a party represented in the House of Commons (54% vs. 49% of independent candidates and 33% of members of non-HoC parties). Variations by age regarding support for online elector registration were small and not statistically significant. Online voting received the support of a majority of candidates under 30 (53%) and 50 and older (55%), compared to 47% of those 30-49 years of age.

Suggestions to Improve Conduct of Federal Elections

Candidates offered numerous suggestions to improve the conduct of federal elections. However, no single suggestion clearly stands out given that none was offered by more than 10% of respondents. In fact, one-quarter of candidates offered no suggestions: 20% said they did not know how to improve the conduct of federal elections and 6% chose not to respond to the question. The range of suggestions offered for Elections Canada's consideration can be seen in the accompanying graph and are enumerated in the accompanying table. Suggestions have changed little since 2008, with the introduction of electronic methods of voting leading the list then as now.

Suggestions to Improve Conduct of Federal Elections

Text version of graph "Suggestions to Improve Conduct of Federal Elections".

When the suggestions are grouped together, several themes emerge from the feedback: 1) voting or registration changes, 2) administrative suggestions, 3) communications aspects, and 4) regulatory changes.

1. Voter/Registration Changes

Introduce electronic methods of voting 10%
Improve accessibility for voters/remove barriers 7%
Efforts to increase voter turnout 4%
Increase time frame for voters/elections 3%
Proportional representation 3%
Voting should be made mandatory 3%
Return to door-to-door enumeration 2%
Improve accuracy of voter lists 2%
Establish a fixed election date 2%
Introduce electronic methods of registration 1%
More dates available for advanced polls 1%
Do not use electronic methods of voting/registration 1%
Election date was inconvenient for university students 1%
Issue a permanent voter's card 1%
More polls on university campuses 1%

2. Administration

Better training for Elections Canada staff 7%
Less paperwork/bureaucracy 6%
More polling locations 4%
More attention given to candidate complaints 1%
Limit the amount of signage 1%
Polling staff should be neutral 1%
Efforts to prevent long line-ups/waiting times 1%
More voting officers at the polling stations 1%
Ensure that candidates have access to public areas 1%
Reduce costs of holding elections 1%

3. Communication

Make information more accessible to candidates 5%
More involvement in media debates and media appearances 5%
Make information more accessible to voters 4%
Better organization of information on website 1%
Inform the public about the candidates 1%
More election advertising 1%

4. Regulatory

Consistent enforcement of regulations 3%
Ban/regulate negative advertising 3%
Provide more financial support to new/small parties 2%
Reduce number of signatures required for nominations 2%
Increased penalties for candidates who breach regulations 1%
Limit campaign spending 1%
Reduce the nomination deposit/fee 1%
Stricter ID requirements 1%
Voters should be required to provide proof of citizenship 1%
Reduce requirements for voter eligibility 1%