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Attitudes of Canadians toward Online Registration (2004–2011)


This research note draws from data from Elections Canada’s surveys of electors and candidates (EC) as well as from the Canadian Election Study (CES). Variables of interest include:

  1. Electors’ self-reported likelihood of using online registration services to register to vote or to update their information online. Questions to this effect were included in Elections Canada’s surveys of electors in 2004, 2006 and 2008; as well as the CES of 2011. Responses were typically measured using a four-point scale ranging from very likely to very unlikely.

  2. Electors’ perception of the risk associated with online registration. One question to this effect was included in the 2008 and 2011 CES. In the 2008 survey, responses were ranked on a four-point scale, whereas in 2011, respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with the statement that online registration was too risky.

  3. Candidates’ opinions regarding whether or not electors should be able to register online, based on results from the 2008 and 2011 surveys of candidates, conducted by Elections Canada.

Statistical tests were applied in order to determine significant associations between likelihood to use electronic registration and perception of risk; and relevant socio-demographic variables, including age, gender, disability status, urban/rural location, and level of education.Footnote 7

Footnote 7 In cases where the socio-demographic variable of interest was categorical, a chi-squared test was used (with level of significance 5%) to determine if the observed distribution to the categories could be due to chance alone. To measure the strength of the association between variables, a phi statistic was used for 2 x 2 tables and Cramer’s V was used for larger tables.

In cases where both variables of interest were measured as ranks, a gamma statistic was used to measure the strength of association. Gamma is a proportionate reduction of error (PRE) measure, which quantifies the extent to which the error in predicting one variable is reduced when taking the other variable into account. Gamma values range from -1 (100% perfect negative association) to +1 (100% or perfect positive association). A value of zero indicates the absence of association.