Key Findings – Report on the Survey of Special Ballot Voters for the 43rd General Election
Sources of information
The most common source of information for finding out about the option to vote by special ballot was the Elections Canada website (28% of respondents).
For campus voters, the most common source of information for finding out about the option to vote was through notification by the post-secondary institution (23%).
One-fifth (20%) of international mail-in voters found out about the option to vote by special ballot through a friend, family member or acquaintance.
Reason for voting by special ballot
Almost two in five (38%) respondents indicated that the reason they had voted by special ballot was that they were unavailable on advance polling days and election day.
Time it took to vote
National mail-in voters reported that it had taken, on average, 7.8 days to receive their ballot in the mail after their application had been submitted to Elections Canada and another 4.5 days to put it back in the mail.
In total, it was reported that this process took almost two weeks (12.3 days). This does not include the time that it took for Elections Canada to receive the ballot.
International mail-in voters who were not already on the International Register reported that it had taken an average of 11.6 days to receive their ballot in the mail after their application had been submitted to Elections Canada. Then it took another 5.4 days to put the ballot back in the mail.
The total reported process took an average of 17 days. This does not include the time that it took for Elections Canada to receive the ballot. Unsurprisingly, this process reportedly took longer than that of national mail-in voters, by just under five days.
EC office voters said that they had waited in line at a voting place for an average of 2.6 minutes, followed by 4.1 minutes to complete the ballot and vote.
In total, the average reported voting experience for EC office voters was 6.7 minutes.
Campus voters said that they had waited in line at a voting place for an average of 3.9 minutes, and it had taken 4.7 minutes to complete the ballot and vote.
In total, the average reported voting time for campus voters was 8.6 minutes, which is nearly two minutes longer than the experience for EC office voters.
Ease of voting and completing ballot
Nearly all voters (97%) found that the voting method that they used had been easy, with 85% finding it very easy to use and 12% finding it somewhat easy.
International mail-in voters were less likely to say that using that voting method had been very easy (69%) compared with those who had voted at an EC office (87%) and campus voters (89%).
Completing the ballot was considered easy for virtually all voters (98%).
Satisfaction with voting experience and services
Special ballot voters were satisfied with their overall voting experience (94%), with 91% of respondents being very satisfied and 14% of respondents being somewhat satisfied.
Of those who did not express satisfaction with their overall voting experience, 6% were dissatisfied, 4% were somewhat dissatisfied and 2% were very dissatisfied.
Campus voters were more likely to say that they were very satisfied (91%) compared with international (77%) and national (77%) mail-in voters.
Nearly all respondents (98%) who had interacted with Elections Canada staff indicated that they were either somewhat or very satisfied with the services provided.
Likelihood of recommending special ballot voting to others
Nearly all respondents (96%) stated that they were either very or somewhat likely to recommend voting by special ballot to others.
Main reason unable to vote
Among respondents who had been unable to cast their ballot (4%), the most common reason provided was among mail-in electors, who could not mail in their ballot to Elections Canada by the deadline (33%).