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Statements and Speeches

Remarks of the Chief Electoral Officer
for the 42nd general election news conference

September 14, 2015

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Elections Canada – Improving the elector experience

Thank you for being here today.

We are now at the halfway point of this election. And given that today marks the beginning of Canada's Democracy Week, I thought this would be a good time to talk to Canadians about what they can do to be ready to vote at this federal election.

Elections Canada's goal, as always, is to give every elector a positive experience at the polls. We want all Canadians – including those who are voting for the very first time, who have recently moved or who have special requirements – to know just how easy and convenient it is to vote.

Elector experience – Registration and ID

For most electors, voting should take about 10 minutes. That's 10 minutes for an elector arriving at the polling station to cast their ballot and be out the door. Voting is that easy – especially if you take a few moments to register and think ahead about the ID you will need at the polls.

The vast majority of Canadians can use their driver's licence, and if you bring along your voter information card, it will make the experience even easier.

The simplest option is to have your driver's licence with you when you go to vote. If you don't have a driver's licence – and we know that 15% of Canadians don't have one – you will have to plan ahead. Before you leave home, make sure you have two documents – both must show your name and at least one must show your address. You will find the full list of ID on the Elections Canada website and in a householder you will receive in the mail closer to election day.

One tool that we have put in place for the first time at this election is the Online Voter Registration Service. It is fast, easy and convenient. You can check to see if you are registered or make updates if your situation has changed. For example, if you are one of the more than 600,000 Canadians who will be moving during this election, this service is perfect for you.

Elector experience – Voting options

Although the vast majority of electors will head to their local polling location and vote on October 19, there are other options available.

In addition to 12 hours for voting on election day, you can vote now at any of the 486 Elections Canada offices across the country until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13. Or again, if you cannot show up in person at one of our offices, you can vote by mail – just apply online and we'll send you a voting kit.

You can also vote at the advance polls – there are now four advance polling days. We will be welcoming electors who want to vote early on October 9, 10, 11 and 12 – that's Friday through Monday of Thanksgiving weekend from noon to 8 p.m.

Elector experience – Accessibility

I would like to take a moment to talk about accessibility at the polls. We want to make voting easier and convenient for all Canadians, including those who face physical barriers. We have made great strides in improving access to polling stations for those who have disabilities, and for those caregivers who will assist Canadians in exercising their right to vote.

Information about the accessibility of an elector's specific polling site will be available on our website and featured on the voter information card. Each registered elector will receive this card in the mail by October 1. If you have special requirements, call us and we will help.

Elector experience – Information

With all of these changes, options and choices, it is more important than ever to ensure that Canadians receive the correct information they need to vote. First of all, registered voters will receive a voter information card and all households will receive a reminder brochure in the mail – these contain all the information you need to vote.

Over and above that, you will see and hear us in newspapers, at bus stops, on your TV and radio – and for the first time at a federal general election, we are active on social media with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

We are pleased to be working with more than 50 organizations to ensure that electors receive accurate information about where, when and ways to register and vote. For example, we have a partnership with Facebook Canada to promote registration. Tomorrow, all Canadian Facebook users will see a message in their newsfeed about voter registration.

It's essential that Canadians understand where, when and ways to register and vote – and that they know Elections Canada is the source for information on the electoral process. We are here to help and to answer questions. We are here to serve electors and we encourage all electors to get in touch with us with their questions and concerns.

Conclusion

I have the privilege of leading a skilled and dedicated workforce – both at Elections Canada headquarters and in ridings across the country. We have a team of 250,000 election workers – people from each of your communities – who are proud to serve you, the elector.

The right to vote is universal. Our goal is to ensure that every Canadian who wishes to cast a ballot will have an opportunity to do so.

Thank you. I am happy to take your questions.