Report on the Evaluations of the 41st General Election of May 2, 2011
Post-election evaluations show that Canadians were generally well informed about the election, voter identification requirements and voting procedures. The findings support our strategy of focusing our outreach efforts on electors who continue to face barriers to participation, particularly seniors, youth and Aboriginal electors.
While voter turnout increased slightly in 2011, Canada continues to experience a long-term decline in turnout, largely the result of declining participation by young Canadians. These findings point to the significance of motivational barriers and call for a societal approach to engage them.
The evaluations also indicate that Elections Canada was able to offer services earlier while maintaining high-quality voters lists and keeping election costs stable. New technologies resulted in some efficiencies as well as challenges. Although electors were generally satisfied with voting services, constraints imposed by the Canada Elections Act continued to limit operational efficiencies at the polls.
With the current majority government and the fixed date for the next general election of October 19, 2015, Elections Canada now has the opportunity to pursue several longer-term efforts to modernize the electoral process. The evaluations reinforce our long-term vision of providing electors with more convenient and modern ways to register and vote, such as through the online voter registration service that we recently introduced. We will also consider options for expanding the use of the voter information card as proof of identity and address to all electors while increasing the number of locations where electors can vote by special ballot.
While Elections Canada has the legislative authority to implement many of these improvements, certain activities, such as conducting a pilot project to test more efficient voting processes at the ordinary and advance polls, require approval from parliamentarians or legislative change.
It is important that the electoral administration and the law be able to reflect the concerns and values of the modern Canadian electorate. To this end, both should be modernized to ensure an electoral process that is responsive to the needs of Canadians and deserving of their trust.
Elections Canada remains committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to continue to improve the electoral process to meet the evolving needs of Canadians, while ensuring that elections are administered in a fair, efficient and trustworthy fashion.