Revision of the Lists of Electors
Elections Canada produces preliminary lists of electors for federal elections, by-elections and referendums, using information from the National Register of Electors. Returning officers then update the lists for each riding during the revision period.
The National Register of Electors is a database of Canadians who are qualified to vote. It contains basic information about each person – name, gender, date of birth, address, and unique identifier. The Register may also be used to produce lists of electors for provinces, territories, municipalities and school boards that have signed agreements for that purpose, as permitted by the Canada Elections Act and provincial statutes.
The revision period usually begins 33 days before election day. This 28-day period ends at 6:00 p.m. on the sixth day before election day.
During the revision period, electors may:
- correct their names and addresses on the lists of electors
- add their names to those lists
- ask that the names of electors be deleted (for example, those of deceased electors)
- until the 14th day before election day, file an objection against another elector, disputing the right of that person to be on the lists of electors for the riding
Correcting name and address information
Between the 26th and the 24th days before election day, each returning officer sends a voter information card to every person in the electoral district whose name is on the preliminary lists of electors.
If the name or address on the card is incorrect, the elector may contact the returning officer in person or by telephone, fax or mail to make the correction. In most cases, the returning officer will ask the elector for additional information as proof of identity.
Adding your name to the voter's list
An elector who does not receive a voter information card or who knows that he or she is not registered in the electoral district may ask the returning officer for a registration form in person, or by telephone, fax or mail. The elector then returns the completed form to the returning officer in person, or by fax or mail.
If the elector is not listed in the National Register of Electors, he or she must provide documents proving the elector's identity and address:
- One piece of government-issued identification with the elector's photo, name and current address (for example, a driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card); or
- Two pieces of identification:
- one piece with the elector's name (for example, a social insurance number card, old age security card or health card); and
- another piece with the elector's name and current address (such as a tax assessment, utility bill or credit card statement); or
- An affidavit signed before a person authorized to receive oaths in the province or territory and showing the name, current address of ordinary residence and signature of the elector; or
- If the elector cannot provide any of the documents above, a document showing the name and current address of the elector's spouse or of the person on whom the elector is dependent. This document must meet the requirements in option 1 or 2 above. Both the elector to be registered and the person whose name appears on this document must be present at the time it is offered, and they must live at the same address.
An elector may register another elector:
- who lives at the same address, by completing a registration form and signing it in the presence of the revising agents at the elector's residence
- who lives at the same address, by showing proof of identity and address at the local Elections Canada office
- who does not live at the same address, by showing written authorization and proof of identity and address at the local Elections Canada office
Deleting a name
An elector, or a friend or relative of an elector, may apply to the local Elections Canada office to have the elector's name removed from a list of electors. Usually, such a request is made when someone is not qualified to vote, or when an elector who is a friend or relative has died. Proof of identity and proof of death, when applicable, are required.
One elector may file an objection against another, disputing the right of that person to be on the lists of electors for the electoral district. The objector must file an affidavit of objection with the returning officer between the issue of the writs and the 14th day before election day. The returning officer then formally notifies the person against whom the objection has been filed, and the candidates in the riding, and convenes a hearing. The person objected to, his or her representatives, the objector and candidates' representatives may attend. The onus is on the objector to establish that the name of the person objected to should be deleted.
In consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer and other partners, the returning officer may determine that certain areas of an electoral district – new residential developments, high-mobility areas, post-secondary institution residences, long-term care facilities and First Nations reserves – may require targeted revision.
During the revision period, pairs of revising agents visit the targeted addresses. Electors thus have an additional opportunity to register. If an elector is not present during the visit, the agents will leave a booklet containing a mail-in application at the door.
For long-term care facilities, revising agents will visit electors in person to collect applications for registration.
The Act entitles revising agents to gain access to apartment buildings, condominium buildings or other multiple-residence buildings or gated communities unless the building's administrator believes that residents' physical or emotional well-being could be harmed.
Registering to vote after the revision period ends
To have your name added to the voters list at the polling place, you must prove your identity and address. You can do this in one of three ways:
- Show any government card with your photo, name and current address; or
- Show two pieces of identification from the list of accepted identification. At least one must have your current address; or
- Take an oath. Show two pieces of identification with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and attest for only one person. A person whose address has been attested to cannot attest for another elector.
Eligibility to vote
An elector must be registered and prove his or her identity and address using one of the three accepted methods before he or she can vote. An elector is eligible to register if he or she:
- is a Canadian citizen
- is at least 18 years old on election day
- lives in the electoral district
For a by-election, an elector must live in the electoral district from the 33rd day before election day (the day on which revision usually begins) to election day.