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Thirty-sixth General Election 1997: Official Voting Results: Synopsis



For the first time in the history of federal elections, the preliminary list of electors was drawn up from the National Register of Electors. The Register was established following one last door-to-door enumeration conducted between April 10 and 16, 1997, in all parts of Canada except Alberta and Prince Edward Island. In these two provinces, Elections Canada struck agreements to use the lists of electors from the provincial elections that had been held in March 1997 and November 1996, respectively. Both Alberta and Prince Edward Island had taken the necessary steps to ensure that the data on their lists would be compatible with that in the Register.

Pursuant to Schedule II of the Canada Elections Act, separate lists of electors were prepared for three classes of electors voting under the Special Voting Rules: inmates, Canadian Forces electors and Canadian electors temporarily residing outside Canada. The enumeration of inmates from April 10 to 16, 1997, resulted in the addition of 13 322 electors to the list of electors. The list of Canadian Forces electors was prepared by the coordinating officer based on these electors' statements of ordinary residence, in accordance with section 19 of Schedule II of the Canada Elections Act. This list contained the names of 61 485 electors. Canadians temporarily residing outside Canada were able to enter their names in the International Register of Electors by completing the "Application for Registration and Special Ballot" and forwarding it to Elections Canada headquarters in Ottawa not later than 6:00 p.m. on May 27, 1997. A total of 17 172 electors registered in this way.

The preliminary list of electors, produced from the National Register of Electors, contained a total of 18 753 094 electors. During the revision period, which ended on May 27, 1997, there were 1 325 540 revisions: 646 240 names were added, 153 944 names were deleted and 525 356 entries were changed. The additions were primarily electors who were not registered in the National Register of Electors; the deletions were primarily electors who had moved.

The type of revisions required varied from region to region: in the Yukon, for example, most of the revisions were additions (70%), while in Newfoundland, 60% of the revisions were changes (see Figure E).

Electors can request a revision to the list of electors during the revision period in person at the office of the returning officer for their electoral district, by mail or, where the revisions are minor and the elector is still living in the same district, by telephone. In all cases, the elector must have proof of his or her identity.

At the end of the revision period, there were 19 248 159 electors on the electoral list, 495 065 or 2.64% more than on the preliminary list.

Revisions to the list of electors, by province
or territory   36th general election 1997
Figure E

Figure E

For the first time, electors in both urban and rural polling divisions could register at the polling station during an advance poll or on polling day. A total of 415 319 electors took advantage of this option on polling day.

The final list, established after polling day by adding up the number of electors registered using all methods, contained a grand total of 19 663 478 electors* (see Table C).

* Refer to the Note to the Reader section regarding the final list and the number of electors who registered at the polls.

Number of electors registered by source or
method of registration   36th general election 1997
Source or method of registration
Number of registered electors
Registered prior to issue of writs of election:
  • Electors in National Register of ElectorsFootnote a, including
  • Canadian Forces electors (61,485)
  • Inmates (13,322)Footnote b
  • Canadians residing outside Canada (17,172)Footnote c
Registered during election period, before polling day:
Net additions during revision period (after deletions
accounted for) and registrations at advance polling
Registered on polling dayFootnote d 415,319 
Total 19,663,478 

Footnote a To establish the new National Register of Electors, a final door-to-door enumeration was carried out in April 1997, before writs were issued for the general election, except in the provinces of Alberta and Prince Edward Island. In these provinces, data from provincial lists of electors were used.

Footnote b Registered during the April 1997 enumeration period.

Footnote c Registered both prior to and during the election period.

Footnote d Includes the 56 electors who requested that their names not appear on the National Register of Electors following the election.

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