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Survey of Administrators Regarding the Use of the Voter Information Card as Proof of Address

3. Conclusions and Recommendations

Although almost six in ten respondents indicated that they had received information material, one in three said that they did not receive them (and another one in ten said that they did not recall whether they received them). Implications of these results suggest that information packages need to either be more memorable, and/or the circulation list should be carefully reviewed and follow-up contacts made to ensure that everyone receives a package and understands it.

Related to this, seven in ten reported awareness of the fact that residents could use a letter of attestation as proof of identity. This is fairly positive given that this is a recent change. That said, it will be interesting to see if a higher proportion of respondents will be aware of this in future elections.

Also, almost all respondents indicated that Elections Canada was the main source of information about this change, although more than half were not clear on precisely who they had been dealing with at Elections Canada. This suggests a potential need for additional steps to formalize the process, where possible, to ensure that institutional representatives are fully briefed and that they know who they are dealing with. While satisfaction with the information provided by Elections Canada is high, when respondents provided additional comments, a small segment said that the preparatory steps and/or training could have been more rigorous, and that contacts should be initiated earlier.

Although most respondents said that issuing letters of attestation was not a challenge for their organization, almost half of First Nations representatives said that it was a challenge. Perhaps a review could be conducted to see if anything can be done to create a smoother process for Band representatives on-reserve in future federal elections. One result of note is that First Nations representatives in the sample were the least likely to say that they had held the same responsibilities in 2008, which may explain why the process seemed more onerous for some of them.

It is also useful to note that respondents in smaller facilities were less apt to recall receiving an information package. They were also less aware of the fact that letters of attestation could be used as proof of identity. Again, particular attention to follow-up with smaller organization may prove fruitful in future elections.

Long term care facilities that also offer residence to seniors (i.e., the largest of the organizations in the sample) said that they had to issue a much larger volume of letters than other organizations (an average of 62). They also said that they had been contacted by Elections Canada representatives six times on average, and few said that this was too much.

Although a small sample, only four of the eight schools responding indicated satisfaction with the information provided, suggesting that some additional information may be missing for this particular type of organization.