open Secondary menu

Voting at Select Campuses, Friendship Centres and Community Centres, 42nd General Election

2. Objectives of the Pilot Project

After the 41st general election, Elections Canada examined options for using the Special Voting Rules as a way to increase access to voting by certain targeted groups for the 42nd general election. The option of establishing offices, through a pilot project, in locations such as university and college campuses, Friendship Centres and community centres was selected for youth and Indigenous electors.

The proponents of the pilot project considered several parameters for setting up the offices to allow voting by special ballot in targeted locations.

  • Target groups of electors — While several groups of electors had been identified, analysis of several factors (the suitability of these offices to reach them, the ability to choose effective locations, and the specific barriers influencing each group) suggested that youth and Indigenous electors would be best suited as target groups. They could be reached with offices in post-secondary institutions, Friendship Centres and community centres.Footnote 1
  • Number of sites — It was proposed to set up 40 offices at post-secondary institutions across the country, and a similar number at Friendship Centres and community centres. This would strike a balance between improving access and managing risks. The projection in the business case was to target about 555,000 electors, or 17 percent of the estimated 3.3 million young electors in Canada. Elections Canada was confident that the recommended scale would prove the concept, deliver substantial benefit and demonstrate that the proposal is congruent with Elections Canada's goals, service standards and regulatory framework.

It was also recommended that provincial and territorial representation be proportional to their respective populations. The criteria developed to select institutions were as follows:

  • the 10 largest post-secondary institutions in Canada (defined by size of student body);
  • the largest post-secondary institution in each of the provinces and territories not represented by the 10 largest post-secondary institutions;
  • the largest CEGEPs (Quebec);
  • the most suitable community centres and Friendship Centres (with available office space that is large, secure and accessible).

The pilot project had three principal objectives:

  1. Improve accessibility of the voting process by physically locating voting services closer to electors.
  2. Improve accessibility of the voting process by increasing elector awareness of voting options.
  3. Measure the extent to which the service format integrates well into the current electoral process.

The initiative would also attempt to engage youth directly in the electoral administration process as workers in these offices.

Footnote 1 Community centres were added to the mix in order to reach youth who are not enrolled in post-secondary institutions.