Appendix A – Report on the 44th General Election of September 20, 2021
National Register of Electors
Coverage, Currency and Accuracy of the Register
Ensuring that the data contained in the National Register of Electors (the Register) reflects the most up-to-date information available contributes to reinforcing Canadians' confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. The quality of the information ensures that all electors in the Register will appear on the lists of electors and, if their information is current, receive a voter information card (VIC) at their present address. It is also important to political parties and candidates wanting to engage with electors. Quality is a function of three factors: coverage, currency and accuracy.
- Coverage is the proportion of all electors (i.e. Canadian citizens who are 18 or older) who are registered to vote. It has historically varied between 91 and 96 percent, and was at 96 percent at the start of the 2021 general election when the preliminary lists of electors were issued. The proportion of electors between 18 and 24 years old who were on the lists remained significantly lower, at 78.4 percent (78.9 percent in 2019).
- Currency is the proportion of all electors who are registered at their current address. It has historically varied between 82 and 90 percent, and was at 88.7 percent at the start of the 2021 general election when the preliminary lists of electors were issued.
- Accuracy is the proportion of registered electors whose address is current. These electors are correctly registered at their current address and would have received their VIC. Historically, accuracy has varied between 88 and 93 percent, and was at 92.3 percent at the start of the 2021 general election when the preliminary lists of electors were issued. This compares with 93 percent in 2019 and 91 percent in 2015.
Quality of the preliminary lists of electors (as measured at the beginning of the election period)
Description of "Quality of the preliminary lists of electors (as measured at the beginning of the election period)"
Bar graph comparing the quality of the preliminary list of electors for the 44th, 43rd, 42nd and 41st general elections. It shows the coverage, currency, and accuracy of the preliminary list for each of these elections in percentage.
Initiatives to Improve the Register
Many factors affect the quality of the data in the Register, including demographic changes and the availability of data. To maximize its accuracy before the 44th general election, Elections Canada undertook the following special initiatives earlier in 2021, beyond processing its regular data sources:
- reviewed elector records containing the same last name, date of birth and address and removed any duplicates
- invited electors to update their voter registration or confirm that they were qualified to vote
- invited youth to register online when they reached the age of 18 and added pre-registered future electors as they turned 18
For instance, in November 2020, Elections Canada mailed verification notices to over 100,000 electors who were active in the Register but whose information the agency suspected was no longer accurate. In the notices, electors were asked to verify or correct their information using the agency's Online Voter Registration Serviceendnote xxx or to contact the agency's call centre if they were unable to use the online service. The mailing was part of Elections Canada's ongoing efforts to ensure that the Register is as accurate as possible. The Canada Elections Act authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to remove from the Register the name of any person who fails to comply with the request within 60 days of receiving a verification notice. In February 2021, 98.3 percent of the electors who were sent verification notices were removed from the Register.
As well, Elections Canada received data about non-citizens (permanent residents and foreign nationals) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The agency sent qualification letters to individuals who were active in the Register but whose information matched the data provided by IRCC indicating that they were not Canadian citizens and therefore not qualified to vote. The letter informed them that they would be removed from the Register unless they confirmed that they were indeed qualified to vote.footnote 1 Elections Canada sent qualification letters to more than 14,000 individuals in January 2021 and to over 700 individuals in August 2021. Of the individuals contacted, 96.6 percent were removed from the Register.
Finally, Elections Canada sent registration letters to individuals who were identified as potential new electors in select regions with lower youth coverage. The goal of these mailings was to encourage youth to register through the Online Voter Registration Service if they were qualified to vote. Between the close of the 43rd and the 44th general elections, Elections Canada mailed more than 270,000 letters to potential new electors aged 18 and 19 years old. As a result of these youth mailing initiatives, just over 39,000 new electors were added to the Register. These mailings promoted youth registration, which increased the Register's coverage and thereby improved the quality of the lists of electors.
One of the activities Elections Canada decided not to undertake in the lead up to the 44th general election was a targeted review, which typically involves setting up desks in public locations where electors can register or update their information. This approach was not suited to pandemic circumstances. Adapting its tactics, Elections Canada added messaging to the Voter Information Campaign that encouraged electors to register or update their information using the agency's Online Voter Registration Service.endnote xxxi This allowed the agency to improve the quality of the Register without compromising the health and safety of vulnerable electors.
To further improve the quality of the Register before the next general election, Elections Canada plans to:
- improve data management tools and explore existing data sources further in order to enhance the quality of the addresses associated with elector records, including those of electors living on Indigenous reserves
- enhance the Online Voter Registration Service to allow new registrations or updates for certain segments of the population (e.g. those who are under 18, who have changed their name or who have a non-standard address)
- conduct various mailings (e.g. youth, verification, qualification)
- continue removing duplicate information by performing a manual review of elector records containing the same last name, date of birth and address (Corrections aim to update records for transgender individuals.)
- continue signing agreements with various partners and data suppliers to obtain data for Canadians who are under 18 years old so that they can be added to the Register when they turn 18
These projects and enhanced processes will ensure ongoing improvements in the coverage, currency and accuracy of the lists of electors, reducing the need for electors to register or update their information during an election and strengthening electoral integrity.
Throughout the revision period, electors could use the Online Voter Registration Service to check if they were registered to vote, to register or to update their address information. In light of the pandemic context, the service was updated to allow local electors to apply online to vote by mail using a special ballot.
Throughout the election period, 2.3 million users accessed the Online Voter Registration Service to check if they were registered.footnote 2 Just under 70,000 individuals successfully added themselves to the lists of electors,footnote 3 and approximately 420,000 updated or corrected their information.footnote 4 As in previous elections, uptake of this service was most prevalent among 18-24 year olds.
Return to footnote 1 To be qualified to vote, an individual must be 18 years old and have Canadian citizenship.
Return to footnote 2 The Online Voter Registration Service was accessed by just over 2 million users during the 43rd general election and by approximately 1.7 million users during the 42nd general election.
Return to footnote 3 Over 81,000 individuals successfully added themselves to the lists of electors during the 43rd general election, and approximately 107, 000 added themselves during the 42nd general election.
Return to footnote 4 Approximately 200,000 electors updated or corrected their information during the 43rd general election and 208,000 did so during the 42nd general election.