Public Opinion Survey Following the May 13, 2013 Labrador By-election
2.1 Awareness of By-election
a) Overall Awareness
Overall awareness of the May 13, 2013 by-election was universal (100 percent). This frequency is consistent with, if not better than, Canadians' awareness of the 2011 general election (98 percent).
b) Sources of Information About the By-elections
Television (65 percent), radio (39 percent), and newspapers (26 percent) were the most commonly cited sources of information about the by-elections. An additional one percent mentioned other news media generally as their source for election information. Word of mouth was also an important way of learning about the by-election (22 percent). Political candidates' or party election signs alerted 15 percent of voters to the election and a further two percent saw signs and posters around their area. Almost one in five heard about the election from Internet sources: 10 percent through websites, excluding the Elections Canada website (mentioned by less than one percent), and eight percent through social media. One in ten electors noticed sources specific to Elections Canada, including the householder brochure (six percent) and the voter information card (five percent). Other sources cited by one percent each were door-to-door canvassing, phone calls, flyers and pamphlets in the mail, other general mentions of political party or candidate sources, and knowledge through working or volunteering with the election.
Mainstream media sources were also the top sources for information about the general election for Canadians in the 2011 general election, when television and newspaper sources were also much more widely cited as sources (81 and 50 percent respectively, followed by 42 percent who cited radio). In the present by-election survey in Labrador, more frequently cited sources of information include word of mouth, campaign/party election signs, and social media. Elections Canada sources (the VIC, householder, website) were cited by similar proportions compared to 2011 (each at an incidence of six percent or less).
- Seven in ten electors ages 35 and older heard about the by-election from TV, compared to 52 percent of younger voters. Radio is more likely to have been a source of information for older electors (46 percent of those 55 and older heard about the by-election through the radio, compared to 28 percent under 35).
- Men (72 percent) are more likely than women (58 percent) to have heard about the election from television.
- Electors in middle-income households ($40,000 to $80,000 annual income) are more likely than those with higher and lower incomes to have heard about the election on the radio (45 percent, versus 40 percent of those with higher incomes and 37 percent of those with lower incomes), but slightly less likely to have heard about it through word of mouth (16 percent, versus 23 percent of those with lower incomes and 21 percent of those with higher incomes).
- Radio is a better source for reaching electors who work full-time (41 percent) than those who are not employed (22 percent).
2.2 Voter Information
a) Voting Procedures
Electors were asked about where they got information about voting procedures such as where and when to vote and what was needed to prove their identity and address in order to vote. Overall, Elections Canada materials were mentioned by the majority of electors, primarily the VIC (50 percent). A further 17 percent found out through another Elections Canada source such as the householder (seven percent), previous elections (four percent), at the polling station (two percent), from a general EC source (two percent), the EC website (one percent), and a local EC office (one percent). One in five found out through media like television (10 percent), radio (nine percent), and newspapers (seven percent). Some heard about the voting procedures through family, friends or others (16 percent). Previous knowledge or experience was cited by six percent (i.e., small community and all major events are held at this location). A handful mentioned social media (three percent), political parties or candidates (two percent), pamphlets/brochures (two percent), the Internet or a website (two percent); or through work/volunteering, mail, or telephone (one percent each). One percent did not get information from any source or did not intend to vote, and three percent did not know or could not remember where they got their information.
The prevalence of citing the VIC as an information source on voting procedures for the by election is lower than it was for Canadian electors in the 2011 general election (66 percent). More Labrador electors cited family/friends/parents as information sources, compared to 2011 (seven percent). All other information sources were cited with similar frequency by Labrador electors in this by-election compared to all Canadian electors in the 2011 general election.
|Where did you get information on voting procedures for this by-election? By that I mean, when and where to vote and how to prove your identity and address before voting*.||%|
|Voter information card||50%|
|EC householder – brochure / leaflet / reminder card (received in the mail)||7%|
|Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)||3%|
|Elections Canada (general)||2%|
|At the polling station, when voting||2%|
|Telephone (1- 800 number)||1%|
|Elections Canada website||1%|
|Local Elections Canada office in the electoral district||1%|
|Through mail (general)||1%|
|None/Did not intend to vote||1%|
n=755; Base: electors aware of the by-election.
*Up to three responses accepted.
- Higher-income electors are more likely than others to have found out about the voting procedures through a VIC (55 percent of those with incomes over $80,000).
- Electors who are not employed are less likely than others to have found out about the voting procedure from their VIC (38 percent), and are more likely to have found out through social media (13 percent).
- Lower-income electors are more likely than the average to have heard about the voting procedures through friends and family (25 percent).
- Electors 55 and older and retired voters are somewhat more likely than the average to have got information on voting procedures from newspapers (11 to 15 percent) and television (15 to 20 percent) compared with eight percent or less of those under 55.
- Younger electors are more likely to have learned about the election through friends and family (22 percent), compared to older electors (12 to 13 percent). Younger electors are also more likely than the average to have got information from social media, though the incidence is still very small and many other sources are more popular (seven percent, versus one percent of older voters).
b) Elections Canada Advertisement
Electors were asked whether they recalled seeing or hearing any Elections Canada advertising about the by-election. More than one in three electors (35 percent) recall some advertising by Elections Canada. Awareness is marginally lower than awareness among Canadian electors of advertising during the 2011 election (40 percent).
- Recall of an advertisement is fairly even across segments.
c) Advertisement Sources
Electors who noticed this advertising most often saw it in newspapers (33 percent). Almost one in five recall hearing an ad from Elections Canada on the radio (18 percent). Although Elections Canada does not produce television ads for by-elections, 14 percent recall an EC advertisement on television. Some also mentioned the EC householder or a pamphlet generally (nine and six percent, respectively) and six percent cited their VIC as the source of the advertising. One percent mentioned receiving mail generally. Some saw posters and signs around their area (seven percent), the Elections Canada website (two percent) or the EC office in their electoral district (one percent). Eighteen percent did not recall where they saw or heard the advertising from Elections Canada.
|Where did you notice advertising by Elections Canada about the by-election*?||%|
|EC householder – brochure / leaflet / reminder card (received in the mail)||9%|
|Signs/posters around area||7%|
|Voter information card||6%|
|Elections Canada Web site||2%|
|Local Elections Canada office in the electoral district||1%|
n=309; Base: Electors aware of by-election
*Up to three responses accepted.
- 35-to-54-year-olds are more likely to have noticed advertising in newspapers (44 percent, compared to 15 percent of younger electors and 34 percent of older electors).
- Electors with incomes between $40,000 and $80,000 are more likely than the average to have mentioned the VIC (12 percent, versus six percent of lower-income electors and two percent of higher-income electors). Higher-income electors are more likely to have noticed newspaper advertising (39 percent, versus 24 to 34 percent of lower-income electors).
d) Content Recall
Electors who noticed some advertising were asked to recall what the main message was in the advertisement. One-quarter of those who recall the advertising mentioned the date of the election (24 percent). A further eight percent recall information on the advance polling dates. Seventeen percent recall a reminder to go to vote and a further five percent indicate the message was an enticement to vote. One in ten (11 percent) recall information about voters needing to prove their identity and address in order to vote. One percent recall a notice of the upcoming by-election. Some remember seeing or hearing specific information such as the hours of the polling stations (eight percent), where to go to vote (eight percent), or a telephone number (one percent). A few recall messages about ways to vote, including how to vote (instructions, eligibility – three percent) and voting by mail (one percent) or voting at the local EC office (one percent). Five percent recall information on candidates and party platforms. Two in five (40 percent) did not recall what the advertising talked about.
In 2011, the most commonly recalled content was virtually the same as that recalled in the present survey: 20 percent recalled the election date (including advance polling dates), and 18 percent recalled a reminder or an enticement to vote. In the 2011 post-election survey, fewer Canadian electors overall said they did not recall the advertising content or refused to answer (23 percent).
|What did the advertising talk about*?||%|
|Reminder to vote||17%|
|Voters must prove their ID/address before voting||11%|
|Advanced polling dates||8%|
|Polling station opening hours||8%|
|Where to go vote||8%|
|Enticement to vote||5%|
|Candidates'/parties' platforms and ridings||5%|
|How to vote (instructions, requirements)||3%|
|Voting at the local Elections Canada office||1%|
|The upcoming by-election, what it is||1%|
n=321; Base: those who recall EC advertising
*Up to three responses accepted.
- Women are more likely to recall that the advertising was a reminder to vote (23 percent, compared to 12 percent of men).
- Higher-income electors are more likely to recall that the advertising included the election date (28 percent, compared to 20 percent of those with incomes under $40,000 and 19 percent of those with incomes between $40,000 and $80,000). Middle-income electors are more likely than average to have noticed the dates of advance polls (14 percent) and information on how to vote (eight percent). Lower-income electors are more likely to have noticed a reminder to vote (28 percent) or an enticement to vote (12 percent).
- Younger electors are more likely to recall information about candidates' and parties' platforms (10 percent).
2.3 Interaction with Elections Canada
a) Attempts to Contact Elections Canada
Few electors contacted Elections Canada during the campaign (five percent). Among those who did contact Elections Canada (n=45), 86 percent said they got the information they needed. One in ten said their questions were partially answered (nine percent). Four percent said they did not get the information they needed.
- Electors who are retired are more likely to have contacted Elections Canada during the campaign (11 percent, compared to five percent of employed electors and three percent of unemployed electors).
Generally speaking, these figures are almost identical to results from the 2011 post-election survey, when six percent contacted Elections Canada and more than four out of five (87 percent) got the information they needed.
b) Calls from Elections Canada
Although Elections Canada does not call electors on the telephone to inform them about where or when to vote during elections, 17 percent of electors indicated, when asked, that they recalled having received a telephone call from Elections Canada during the campaign informing them about where and when to vote during the by-election.
- Younger voters (25 percent of those under age 35) are more likely to say they recall receiving a telephone call from Elections Canada, compared to 10 to 20 percent of voters over age 35.
- Men (20 percent) are marginally more likely than women (15 percent) to recall having received a phone call.
- Electors with incomes under $40,000, as well as electors who are not employed (26 percent each) are more likely to recall having received a phone call, compared to higher-income, retired, and employed electors (15 to 21 percent).
- Electors who say they received a phone call from Elections Canada are no more or less likely to have voted in the by-election.
2.4 Voter Information Card and Voter Registration
a) Recall of VIC
Elector recall about having received a voter information card (VIC) addressed to them personally and informing them where and when to vote was 87 percent. As a reference point, the proportion of Canadian electors who recalled receiving a VIC in 2011 was 91 percent.
- Younger voters are least likely to report having received a voter information card: 74 percent under the age of 35 say they received one (compared to 91 to 95 percent of older electors).
- Retired electors (95 percent) and employed electors (89 percent) are also more likely to recall having received a VIC, compared to those who are not employed (67 percent).
b) Voter Registration
Two in five electors who did not receive a voter information card (41 percent) did nothing specific to find out whether they were registered to vote in the by-election. More than one-quarter (28 percent) say they found out at the polling station or at an Elections Canada office. A few found out through a revising agent at their home (three percent) or by visiting the Elections Canada website (two percent) or by calling Elections Canada (one percent called the phone number on someone else's VIC and the same proportion say they called the 1-800 Elections Canada number).
Using the results from the 2011 general election as a reference point, it can be noted that among electors who did not receive their VIC, 34 percent did nothing in particular to find out whether they were registered. The top method for finding out about their registration was still at the polling station (24 percent), followed by calling Elections Canada (11 percent).
c) Accuracy of VIC
Of the electors who did receive a VIC in the mail, almost everyone indicated that their name (96 percent) and address (96 percent) were correct as written on the VIC. Of those who received a VIC with incorrect personal information, half (49 percent) did something to correct the information. These figures are virtually identical to 2011 (97 and 98 percent respectively received a VIC with the correct name and address), and half of those with incorrect information did something to correct the information.
d) Recall of VIC Content
More than half of electors who received a VIC in the mail could not recall any specific information that was provided on the card other than information on where and when to vote (56 percent). Fourteen percent recalled seeing their polling station number and ten percent recalled information about advance polls. One in ten recalled a message about identification: some remembered a notice that voters need to show identification at the polls (seven percent), that the VIC cannot be used as a piece of identification (two percent), and what identification is acceptable (one percent). More than one in ten responded that the card had information on where to vote (seven percent) and when to vote (five percent). A few recalled messages about why or how to get in touch with Elections Canada, such as the Elections Canada telephone number (four percent), what to do if information on the VIC is incorrect (two percent), and the website (one percent). Six percent recalled seeing a reminder or enticement to vote. A small number recalled information for voting by mail or special ballot (two percent), accessibility options for voting (two percent), and information about candidates or parties (one percent).
|In addition to providing information about where and when to vote, what did the Voter Information Card talk about*?||%|
|Polling station number||14%|
|Information about advance polls||10%|
|Voters need to show ID at the polls||7%|
|Where to vote||7%|
|Reminder/Enticement to vote||6%|
|When to vote (date and times)||5%|
|Voter Information Card cannot be used as an ID||2%|
|Voting by mail/ at local Elections Canada office/ Special Voting Rules||2%|
|Accessibility needs/disability requirements and options for voting||2%|
|What to do if information on the VIC is incorrect||2%|
|Candidate information, party representatives, who was running||1%|
|What identification was acceptable to present/to bring||1%|
n=686; Base: those who recall receiving a VIC
*Up to three responses accepted.
- Younger voters (four percent of those under 35 years old) are less likely than older voters (17 to 18 percent) to recall seeing their polling station number on the VIC.
- Higher-income electors (13 percent of those with incomes over $80,000) are more likely than those with incomes under $40,000 (five percent) to recall seeing information about advance polls.
- Unemployed electors are more likely to have recalled messages about where to vote (14 percent) and when to vote (10 percent) compared to fewer than one in ten employed or retired electors.
e) Voter Information Card Brought to Vote
The majority of voters who received a VIC took their VIC with them to vote (63 percent). As a point of reference, the 2011 post-election survey showed that this was the case for more than four out of five (83 percent) Canadian electors.
- Voters between ages 35 and 54 (56 percent) are less likely than younger voters (73 percent) and older voters (68 percent) to have taken their VIC with them to vote.
- Voters with incomes under $40,000 (77 percent) are more likely than voters with higher incomes (58 to 62 percent) to have taken their VIC with them to vote.
2.5 Voting in the By-election
As found in previous post-election surveys,Footnote 4 a higher proportion of respondents claim to have voted in the by-election compared to the actual voter turnout rate.Footnote 5 In Labrador, 82 percent surveyed said they voted, compared to the measured voter turnout of 59.6 percent.
This large difference in actual voter turnout versus self-reported turnout was also observed in the 2011 post-election survey, when 84 percent of Canadian electors said they voted, compared to the actual voter turnout rate of 60 percent.
- › Reported participation is lowest among younger Canadians: 68 percent of electors under age 35 said they voted, compared with 87 percent of electors between 35 and 54 years old, and 92 percent of electors over age 55.
- › Reported participation is also lower among not employed (69 percent) compared to electors who are employed (83 percent). Related to age, participation is highest among retired electors (93 percent).
b) 2011 General Election
Asked whether they had voted in the May 2, 2011 federal general election, 78 percent said they had voted, compared to actual voter turnout of 53 percent in Labrador in 2011.Footnote 6 Official Canada-wide participation in the May 2, 2011 federal general election was 61 percent.
- Consistent with patterns for reporting participation in the by-election, younger electors (57 percent of those under age 35) are less likely to have voted in the general election, compared to 86 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 92 percent of those 55 years and older.
- Retired electors (93 percent) and employed electors (81 percent) are more likely than unemployed electors (48 percent) to have voted.
- Higher-income electors (83 percent of those with incomes over $80,000) are more likely to have voted than those with lower incomes (77 percent).
c) Reasons for Not Voting in the By-Election
Non-voters were asked the main reason why they did not vote in the by-election.Footnote 7 The majority did not vote due to personal reasons (67 percent). Personal reasons for not voting include lack of interest/apathy (15 percent); travelling (being out of town, travelling abroad: 14 percent); work (12 percent); being too busy (nine percent); health issues, injuries, or illness (five percent); forgetting to vote (five percent); transportation issues (four percent); family obligations (four percent) and a general lack of information (two percent).
Some non-voters said they did not vote due to political reasons (17 percent). Political reasons for not voting are issues related to candidates (six percent); politicians (three percent); political parties and political party leaders (one percent each); cynicism (three percent); and perceived meaninglessness of the vote (five percent).
Twelve percent cited issues having to do with the electoral process/procedures as reasons for not voting. Reasons having to do with the electoral process include as well as lack of information specifically related to the voting process (five percent), registration problems (three percent), problems accessing the polls (one percent), no documents to prove identification (one percent), and the polling station being too far away from home (two percent).
In 2011, everyday life issues were also the top reasons for not voting (60 percent), followed by political issues (30 percent) and electoral process issues (six percent).
Non-voters were asked, as an open-ended question, whether anything in particular could be done to encourage them to vote in the next federal election. More than two in five (44 percent) could not think of anything that would encourage them to vote or refused to answer. More than one in five (22 percent) said that nothing can encourage them to vote next time (e.g., they are too disillusioned with candidates and politicians). One in ten non-voters (10 percent) said they might vote next time if it were easier to vote and there were more voting options (such as online voting), and a small number said better accessibility would encourage them to vote. One in five (22 percent) mentioned something else, typically reasons why they did not vote in the recent by-election (e.g., "Something came up") and reasons why they might not vote next time (e.g., "Depends on who's running").
In 2011, more than a third (36 percent) said that there was nothing that could be done to encourage them to vote, while one in five mentioned encountering electoral process barriers (21 percent) or mentioned political issues (24 percent).
d) Reasons for Voting
Among those who did vote, the main reason was centred on the sense of duty in exercising their right to vote (38 percent), and a further eight percent voted because they feel it is important to participate in the political process. More than three in ten voted for a political reason, such as to support a certain candidate (15 percent) or party (six percent), or to oppose a particular candidate (six percent) or party (four percent). Fifteen percent said they voted out of habit (i.e. they always vote). Four percent voted for other reasons.
In 2011, a similarly strong proportion of Canadian electors (41 percent) voted out of civic duty. Collectively, partisan/political reasons (supporting or opposing a particular candidate or party) were cited by one in four (24 percent). Voting out of habit was a similarly common response in 2011 (19 percent).
- More affluent electors (43 percent of those with incomes greater than $80,000) are more likely than less affluent electors (31 to 36 percent) to have voted because they feel it is their duty or right to do so. Less affluent electors (23 percent of those with incomes under $40,000) are more likely to have voted mainly to support a particular candidate (compared to 11 to 17 percent of higher-income voters).
- Younger electors (under 35 years old) are more likely than older electors to have voted because they believe it is important to participate in the political process (15 percent). Unemployed electors (19 percent) are also more likely than retired electors (eight percent) or employed electors (seven percent) to have voted for this reason.
e) Online Voting
Seven in ten electors who did not vote say they would have voted (62 percent) or maybe would have voted (eight percent) had there been the option to vote online. In 2011, 57 percent said they would have voted online if it had been possible to do so.
2.6 Voter Participation
a) Method of Voting
Eight in ten electors voted at a polling station on election day (81 percent). Some voted at the advance polls, held May 3, 4 and 6 (16 percent). Only a few voted at a local Elections Canada office (three percent). No one said they voted by mail. These figures are almost identical to 2011, when 80 percent of Canadian voters said they voted at the polling station on election day, 17 percent at advance polls, two percent at an Elections Canada office, and fewer than one percent by mail.
b) Awareness of Voting Options
More than half of electors were not aware that it is possible to vote by mail at any time during a federal election (55 percent), as found among Canadian electors in 2011 (57 percent).
- Awareness of being able to vote by mail is lower among younger electors (33 percent of those under age 35) particularly compared to those who are 55 and older (55 percent).
- Awareness is also lower among electors who are not employed (32 percent), particularly compared to retired electors (54 percent).
- Awareness of being able to vote by mail is higher among middle-income electors (54 percent) compared to those with higher incomes (44 percent) and lower incomes (42 percent).
c) Ease of Voting
Almost all voters thought that voting was easy. Most say it was very easy (84 percent) and a few more say it was somewhat easy (12 percent). Only three percent found it very or somewhat difficult.
As a point of reference, more than nine in ten electors (92 percent) said that casting their vote was very easy and seven percent thought it was somewhat easy in the 2011 general election.
2.7 Proof of Identity/Address Requirements
a) Awareness of Requirements
Almost all electors were aware that they must present proof of identity in order to vote in a federal election (93 percent). Significantly fewer, but still the majority, were aware that proof of address must also be presented in order to vote in an election (78 percent). In the 2011 post-election survey for the federal general election, 97 percent reported being aware of the proof-of-identity requirements, while 89 percent said that they were aware of the proof-of-address requirements.
- Awareness that proof of address must be provided is slightly lower among electors who are not employed (68 percent) compared to 80 percent of employed electors and 82 percent of retired electors.
b) Source of Awareness
One in four electors became aware of the voter identification requirements as a result of receiving a VIC in the mail (26 percent). The experience of a previous election was reported as the information source by one in five electors (19 percent) and experience/knowledge generally was further cited by 17 percent. Word of mouth was an information source for 17 percent. One in ten (11 percent) say they found out about the requirements when they voted. Other sources were each cited by fewer than one in 20 electors, including television (five percent), the EC householder (four percent), newspapers (three percent), radio (five percent), Internet sources (five percent including one percent through the Elections Canada website and two percent through social media), work (two percent), school (one percent), party candidates (one percent), or by being in a small town (e.g., "Just knowing”", one percent).
The VIC was cited as a source of information by 41 percent in 2011 (41 percent), while previous experience/knowledge (including previous elections) was mentioned by 36 percent.
|From what sources do you recall hearing about voter identification requirements?||%|
|Voter Information Card (received in the mail)||26%|
|Word of mouth (friends, relatives, colleagues)||17%|
|When I voted||11%|
|EC householder – brochure / leaflet / reminder card (received in the mail)||4%|
|Through candidates'/parties' campaigns||2%|
|Internet: other websites||2%|
|Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)||2%|
|Elections Canada website||1%|
|Small town (i.e., everyone knows one another/where events are held)||1%|
n=711; Base: those aware of ID and/or address requirements
- Higher-income electors are more likely to have known about the requirements from a previous election (23 percent) or from prior knowledge/experience in general (21 percent).
- Electors who are not employed, as well as those under the age of 35 are even more likely than the average to have learned about the requirements through word of mouth (37 percent and 28 percent, respectively).
- Although television was not a frequently reported source in general, electors aged 55 and older (12 percent) and retired electors (15 percent) are somewhat more likely to have heard about the requirements through television.
c) Compliance with Identification Requirements
Virtually everyone who was aware of the proof of identification and address requirements and went to vote had the required documents with them (95 percent). Just five percent did not have the required documents. Compliance with documentation requirements was marginally higher among Canadian electors overall in 2011 (99 percent).
Almost everyone feels that it is easy to meet the identification requirements to vote. Just two percent say that requirements are difficult to meet, while 98 percent of the overall population feel that they are easy to meet, including more than eight in ten who feel the requirements are very easy to meet. Nearly identical proportions held these views in 2011 (83 percent very easy, 14 percent somewhat easy, two percent somewhat or very difficult).
d) Documentation Presented to Vote
Overall, most electors presented a driver's licence as proof of identity and address when they went to vote (86 percent). Six percent presented a voter information card as proof of identification. Seventeen percent of electors presented other documents as a first or second proof of identification or address, such as health card (three percent), certificate of Indian status (two percent), provincial or territorial ID card (two percent), social insurance card (one percent), Canadian passport (one percent), firearm possession/acquisition licence (one percent), utility bill (one percent), or birth certificate (one percent). Table 2.6 summarizes the frequency of voters presenting various documents as either their first or second proof of identity/address.
A driver's licence was presented by the clear majority of Canadian voters in 2011 (90 percent). The VIC (14 percent), health cards (16 percent), Canadian passports (six percent), utility bills (four percent) and various other documents were also presented more frequently in 2011 as proof of identity or address.
|Which document did you use to prove your identity and address? (First and second responses combined)||%|
|Voter Information Card||6%|
|Certificate of Indian Status (Status Card)||2%|
|Provincial/Territorial Identification Card||2%|
|Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence or Possession Only Licence||1%|
|Social Insurance Number Card||1%|
|Utility Bill (telephone, TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water)||1%|
n=109; Base: voters
Up to two responses were accepted; "none" was not accepted as a first response.
- › A driver's licence is more likely to have been presented by higher-income electors (92 percent) and employed electors (88 percent) compared to the average. Electors between ages 35 and 54 are also more likely than other age groups to have presented a driver's licence (90 percent).
e) Missing Documentation
Those people without the required documentation (n=37) were asked which documentation they were missing.Footnote 8 Among these, the largest number was missing documentation with their photo (52 percent), some were missing documentation with their address (14 percent), a few were missing documentation with their name (nine percent), and some had no identification at all with them (29 percent). Among these electors with missing documents, six in ten (63 percent) went back to find the missing documents, and all of these people say they voted. About one in ten swore an oath with another registered elector (12 percent). One person who did not have the required documentation reported that they did not vote (six percent).
2.8 Voting Experience
a) Polling Station Distance and Convenience
Among those who voted at a polling station on election day, most voters travelled from home to vote (68 percent). Just under three in ten went from work to the polling station (28 percent). A small proportion (three percent) arrived from another location. Among those who voted at the advance polls, more left from home to go to vote (77 percent) compared to those who voted on election day, who were more likely to have left from work. Only a very small number (n=15) voted at an Elections Canada office; about half of these people went there from home, one-quarter went from work, and one quarter from another location.
Virtually all electors found the distance to travel to vote to be convenient for them (96 percent). Only a very small number (one percent) had any difficulty reaching their polling station or EC office. Among these electors who experienced difficulties (n=5), three people encountered physical accessibility issues, one found the polling station address was difficult to find, and one said the polling station was not open at the time they expected.
The incidence of leaving from home to vote was higher among voters in the 2011 general election (80 percent, whereas 16 percent left from work, and one percent from elsewhere). Perspectives on convenience are largely consistent with views of Canadian electors in 2011 (97 percent found it convenient, and only one percent had difficulty reaching the polling station).
- Lower-income electors are more likely to have found the polling station distance inconvenient (10 percent).
- Though it is a very small incidence, electors who are not employed are more likely than employed or retired electors to have encountered difficulty reaching the polling station or Elections Canada office (six percent).
- Of the electors who reported difficulty reaching the polling station, one was a person with a disability.
b) Language of Service
Almost everyone who voted was served in English (99 per cent). Everyone (100 per cent) was satisfied with the language in which they were served.
c) Waiting to Vote
Nearly everyone was satisfied with the time spent waiting to vote at the polling station (98 percent), as was the case in the 2011 general election (99 percent).
d) Assistance with Voting
Two percent of voters required assistance in order to cast their ballot (n=8). Among these voters, some required assistance from poll staff, a relative, or a friend; a template to mark their ballot; helping finding the voting booth and instructions on voting; and assistance getting their address changed. None of the individuals reporting need for assistance identified as a person with a disability.
One percent of voters in the general election required assistance to cast their ballot, mainly in the form of assistance by poll staff.
e) Satisfaction with and Perceptions of EC Staff
Overall, 99 percent of voters were satisfied with the services provided by EC staff when they voted (including 88 percent who were very satisfied and 11 percent who were somewhat satisfied). This level of satisfaction is almost identical to 2011 (87 percent very satisfied, and 11 percent somewhat satisfied).
- Satisfaction was equally high (e.g., 98 to 100 percent) across all segments.
Almost all voters (94 percent) had the perception that Elections Canada staff at the polling station or office where they voted were well trained, including 49 percent who thought staff seemed very well trained and 45 percent who believe EC staff to be well trained.
- Although all segments agreed that EC staff are well trained (92 to 96 percent), the propensity to say that they are "very well trained" is higher among women and those over 55 years of age (55 and 57 percent, respectively). On the other hand, men, electors under 35 and those reporting the highest household incomes are more apt to say that EC staff are "well trained" (52, 58 and 51 percent, respectively), suggesting the possibility of marginally less positive views (or an overall propensity toward providing lower ratings generally in these segments).
f) Ease of Voting
Almost all voters (98 percent) feel that it is easy to cast a ballot in a federal election including nine in ten who feel it is very easy to vote. Just one percent says it is somewhat difficult, and no one says it is very difficult. These views are almost identical to 2011 (92 percent very easy and seven percent somewhat easy).
- Although by and large all segments said that they found it easy to cast a ballot, when looking at those who specifically said that it was "very easy", slightly fewer of the unemployed, those reporting household incomes of under $40,000 (81 and 82 percent) and men (86 percent) said that they found it "very easy" to cast a ballot.
a) Building Accessibility and Signage
Nearly everyone (99 percent) said that the building where they voted was accessible, including nine in ten who found it very accessible and a further one in ten who found it somewhat accessible. Those saying the building was inaccessible (n=4) say they encountered physical accessibility issues (including the lack of a ramp at the main entrance, and a wheelchair ramp that was not up to standard), too few parking spaces, and no designated disabled parking spots.
As a reference point, it should be noted that perceptions of accessibility are almost identical to 2011 (90 percent found the polling station very accessible, and eight percent somewhat accessible).
When asked whether there were enough directional signs outside the building to help find the entrance to the polling station, most (80 percent) say the quantity of signs was sufficient.
When asked whether there were enough directional signs inside the building to help find the way to the room for voting, almost everyone (94 percent) says there were enough signs.
Perceptions of the quantity of directional signs outside and inside the building are almost identical to 2011 (82 percent found there were enough signs outside the building; 95 percent found there were enough signs inside the building).
Almost half of electors (48 percent) noticed signs indicating the building where they went to vote had level access for wheelchairs. Most of those who saw these signs say they were highly visible (77 percent), and one in five (20 percent) say they were somewhat visible. Just two percent indicated they were not very visible.
In 2011, 33 percent of Canadian electors reported noticing a level access sign for wheelchairs at the polling station. Among those who recalled seeing one of these signs, 71 percent said they were highly visible, while 23 percent said somewhat visible.
- Higher-income electors are less likely (41 percent) than lower-income electors to have noticed level-access signs. Also, higher-income electors as well as employed electors who noticed the signage are likely to say that it was only somewhat visible.
- Electors reporting a disability provided roughly similar ratings of the visibility of the signs relative to the rest of electors, with 80 percent rating them as highly visible.
2.10 Perceptions of Fairness
Nine in ten electors perceive the by-election to have been run fairly by Elections Canada. Seven in ten (71 percent) say it was run very fairly and a further 20 percent say it was run somewhat fairly. Three percent thought that Elections Canada ran the election either very or somewhat unfairly. An additional seven percent did not know or had no opinion. These results are slightly better than those for the 2011 general election, when 65 percent felt it was run very fairly and 25 percent felt that the election was run somewhat fairly.
- Electors aged 55 and older (76 percent) and women (75 percent) are more likely to say that the by-election was run very fairly compared with their counterparts. Notably, about three in ten electors reporting household incomes of less than $40,000 (34 percent), and the unemployed (30 percent) said that the by-election was run only "somewhat fairly". One in four men (24 percent) said the same.
- › Though the incidence is very small, unemployed electors (five percent) are more likely than employed and retired electors to say the election was run very unfairly.
2.11 Use of Technology
Nine in ten electors in Labrador (90 percent) access the Internet. Of these, most access the Internet through a laptop computer (79 percent) and over half use a desktop computer (58 percent). Almost half use a smart phone to access the Internet (49 percent) and more than two in five use a tablet (44 percent).
These questions have been modified since 2011, when electors were asked only about the availability of the Internet in their home: 86 percent of electors had access to the Internet at home, while 14 percent did not.
- Although Internet usage is largely universal among mid- and upper-income-range households (90 and 98 percent, respectively), those electors reporting a household income of under $40,000 are less likely than the average to use any of these devices to access the Internet (71 percent).
- Older and retired electors are also less likely to access the Internet (73 and 69 percent, respectively).
- Employed electors are more likely than the average to use smart phones (53 percent), laptops (82 percent), desktop computers (60 percent), and tablets (47 percent). This is also true of electors between ages 35 and 54: 54 percent use smart phones, 82 percent use laptops, 66 percent use desktop computers, and 50 percent use tablets. Smart-phone use is particularly high among the youngest cohort (61 percent among those under 35), which is also the least likely to use desktop computers (47 percent).
The table below provides socio-demographic details for respondents in the sample.
|Living with either or both parents at time of by-election (Base: voters between the ages of 18 and 35)|
|Other Western European||2%|
|Other visible minorities||1%|
|Country of birth|
|Person with a disability|
|Nature of your disability|
|Blind or visual impairment||10%|
|Deaf or hard of hearing||3%|
|Coordination or dexterity||2%|
|Working full-time (35 hours/week or more)||57%|
|Working part-time (less than 35 hours/week)||9%|
|Unemployed or looking for a job||9%|
|Stay at home full-time||5%|
|Type of home|
|Mobile home, trailer||1%|
|Annual household income|
|$20,000 to just under $40,000||11%|
|$40,000 to just under $60,000||12%|
|$60,000 to just under $80,000||10%|
|$80,000 to just under $100,000||14%|
|$100,000 and over||33%|
Return to source of Footnote 4 Previous post-election surveys by Elections Canada have also found that reported election participation is higher than actual voter turnout. These incongruities are likely due to a combination of sample and social desirability biases.
Return to source of Footnote 5 Based on Elections Canada preliminary turnout result for the May 13 by-election.
Return to source of Footnote 6 Elections Canada (2011). 41st General Election – Poll-by-Poll Results – Raw Data. Retrieved June 3, 2013 from http://www.elections.ca/scripts/resval/ovr_41ge.asp?ddlEDRes_prov=10&lang=e.
Return to source of Footnote 7 Totals in this section do not equal 100 due to rounding, and respondents reporting multiple issues in multiple categories.
Return to source of Footnote 8 This question permitted multiple responses; however, each respondent provided only one response.