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Ballot Redesign Focus Groups Final Report

Appendix

Annex 1: Research Instruments

Recruitment Screener

1: General Population

INTRODUCTION: Hello/Bonjour, my name is [INSERT]. I'm calling from Decision Point Research, a Canadian research company. We're organizing a series of discussion groups on behalf of the Government of Canada with people in your area.

Would you prefer to continue in English or French? / Préférez-vous continuer en français ou en anglais?

[RECRUITER NOTE: FOR ENGLISH GROUPS, IF PARTICIPANT WOULD PREFER TO CONTINUE IN FRENCH, PLEASE RESPOND WITH, "Malheureusement, nous recherchons des gens qui parlent anglais pour participer à ces groupes de discussion. Nous vous remercions de votre intérêt." FOR FRENCH GROUP, IF PARTICIPANT WOULD PREFER TO CONTINUE IN ENGLISH, PLEASE RESPOND WITH, "Unfortunately, we are looking for people who speak French to participate in this discussion group. We thank you for your interest."]

The groups will last one and a half hours and people who take part will receive a cash gift to thank them for their time. Participation is completely voluntary. We are interested in your opinions. No attempt will be made to sell you anything or change your point of view. The format is a "round table" discussion led by a research professional with up to 10 participants. All opinions will remain anonymous and will be used for research purposes only in accordance with laws designed to protect your privacy.

[RECRUITER NOTE: IF ASKED ABOUT PRIVACY LAWS, SAY: "The information collected through the research is subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act, legislation of the Government of Canada, and to the provisions of relevant provincial privacy legislation."]

Would you be interested in taking part in this study?

  • Yes     CONTINUE
  • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

Before we invite you to attend, I need to ask you a few questions to ensure that we get a good mix of participants. This will take 5 minutes. May I continue?

  • Yes     CONTINUE
  • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

Record gender by observation. [50/50 SPLIT]

  • Female
  • Male
  1. Do you, or a member of your household or immediate family, work in any of the following fields? [READ LIST] Marketing research, public relations firm, or advertising agency
    The media (i.e., radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc.)
    A federal or provincial government department or agency
    A political party

    • Yes     THANK/DISCONTINUE
    • No     CONTINUE

[RECRUITER NOTE: WHEN TERMINATING A CALL WITH SOMEONE, SAY: Thank you for your cooperation. We already have enough participants who have a similar profile to yours, so we are unable to invite you to participate.]

  1. We have been asked to speak to participants from all different ages. May I have your age please? RECORD: __________. [GET MIX BY AGE]
    • Under 18     THANK/DISCONTINUE
    • 18 to 24 years
    • 25 to 34 years
    • 35 to 44 years
    • 45 to 54 years
    • 55 to 64 years
    • 65 to 74 years
    • 75+ years     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  2. Have you ever voted in a municipal, provincial or federal election? [GET MIX]
    • Yes
    • No
  3. Could you please tell me what is the last level of education that you completed? [GET MIX]<
    • Some high school
    • Completed high school
    • Some college/technical school/CEGEP
    • Graduated college/technical school/CEGEP
    • Some university
    • Graduated university
    • Graduate studies
  4. Have you ever attended a discussion group or taken part in an interview on any topic that was arranged in advance and for which you received money for your participation?
    • Yes
    • No     GO Q9
  5. When did you last attend one of these discussion groups or interviews? [DO NOT READ LIST UNLESS HELPFUL; RECORD RESPONSE]
    • Within the last 6 months THANK/TERMINATE
    • 6 months to under 2 years CONTINUE
    • 2 or more years     GO TO Q8
  6. Thinking about the groups or interviews that you have taken part in, what were the main topics discussed?
    • RECORD: _______________
    • THANK/TERMINATE IF RELATED TO VOTING/ELECTIONS
  7. How many discussion groups have you attended in the past 5 years?
    • Fewer than 5
    • 5 or more     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  8. Participants will be asked to look at some items, write out short comments and voice their opinions in front of others. Do you feel comfortable doing this?
    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/TERMINATE
  9. The discussion group will be audio/video-recorded. These recordings are used to help with analyzing the findings and writing the report. The results from the discussions will be grouped together in the research report, which means that individuals will not be identified in any way. Neither your name nor your specific comments will appear in the research report. Is this acceptable?
    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  10. There may be some people from the Government of Canada who have been involved in this project observing the session. They will not take part in the discussion and they will not know your name. Is this acceptable?
    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

[GO TO B: INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE]

2: Persons with Disabilities

INTRODUCTION: Hello/Bonjour, my name is [INSERT]. I'm calling from Decision Point Research, a Canadian research company. We're organizing a series of discussion groups and interviews on behalf of the Government of Canada with people in your area.

Would you prefer to continue in English or French? / Préférez-vous continuer en français ou en anglais?

[RECRUITER NOTE: FOR ENGLISH GROUPS, IF PARTICIPANT WOULD PREFER TO CONTINUE IN FRENCH, PLEASE RESPOND WITH, "Malheureusement, nous recherchons des gens qui parlent anglais pour participer à ces groupes de discussion. Nous vous remercions de votre intérêt." FOR FRENCH GROUP, IF PARTICIPANT WOULD PREFER TO CONTINUE IN ENGLISH, PLEASE RESPOND WITH, "Unfortunately, we are looking for people who speak French to participate in this discussion group. We thank you for your interest."]

Is there anyone in your household 18 years of age or older who has a visual impairment, a physical disability that impairs mobility or movement, or a cognitive disability? If so, may I speak with this individual?

  • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  • Yes:
    • Same person     CONTINUE
    • Someone else
      1. ASK TO SPEAK TO INDIVIDUAL; REPEAT INTRODUCTION
      2. GO TO Q1
    • Not available     SCHEDULE CALL-BACK
  1. Several of the discussion groups, as well as the interviews, will be conducted with people who have a disability. Could you please tell me whether you have a physical, visual, or cognitive disability?
    • Physical     [FOCUS GROUP]
    • Visual     [FOCUS GROUP]
    • Cognitive     [INTERVIEW]

[RECRUITER INFORMATION; OFFER AS NEEDED]:

  • A physical disability can include mobility, flexibility, dexterity, or pain issues and result in difficulty walking, using stairs, using hands or fingers, or doing other physical activities.
  • This includes low-vision and partially-sighted individuals.
  • A cognitive disability can include learning, memory or developmental issues and result in difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating.
  1. [FOCUS GROUP] The discussion group will last one and a half hours and people who take part will receive a cash gift to thank them for their time. Participation is completely voluntary. We are interested in your opinions. No attempt will be made to sell you anything or change your point of view. The format is a "round table" discussion led by a research professional with up to eight participants. All opinions will remain anonymous and will be used for research purposes only in accordance with laws designed to protect your privacy.

    [INTERVIEW] The interview will be conducted in person and it will last up to 45 minutes. People who take part will receive a cash gift to thank them for their time. Participation is completely voluntary. We are interested in your opinions. No attempt will be made to sell you anything or change your point of view. All opinions will remain anonymous and will be used for research purposes only in accordance with laws designed to protect your privacy.

    Would you be interested in taking part in this study?
    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

[RECRUITER NOTE: IF ASKED ABOUT PRIVACY LAWS, SAY: "The information collected through the research is subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act, legislation of the Government of Canada, and to the provisions of relevant provincial privacy legislation."]

  1. Before we invite you to attend, I need to ask you a few questions to ensure that we get a good mix of participants. This will take 5 minutes. May I continue?

    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  2. Record gender by observation. [GET MIX]          
    • Female
    • Male
  3. Do you, or a member of your household or immediate family, work in any of the following fields? [READ LIST]

    Marketing research, public relations firm, or advertising agency
    The media (i.e., radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc.)
    A federal or provincial government department or agency
    A political party
    • Yes     THANK/DISCONTINUE
    • No     CONTINUE

[RECRUITER NOTE: WHEN TERMINATING A CALL WITH SOMEONE, SAY: Thank you for your cooperation. We already have enough participants who have a similar profile to yours, so we are unable to invite you to participate.]

[ASK THOSE WITH A PHYSICAL DISABILITY]

  1. What is the nature of your physical disability? [RECORD SPECIFIC DISABILITY AND THEN CODE DISABILITY TYPE]

    Disability: ___________

    DO NOT READ:
    • Mobility/agility disability
    • Acquired brain injury
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Cystic fibrosis/CF
    • Multiple sclerosis/MS
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Spinal injury/spina bifida
    • Other     [GO TO Q7 IF UNSURE OF ELIGIBILITY]

[ASK IF UNSURE OF ELIGIBILITY]

  1. Does this disability make it difficult for you to walk, use stairs, use your hands or fingers, or do other types of physical activities?
    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     ASK Q12 THEN THANK/DISCONTINUE

[ASK THOSE WITH A VISUAL DISABILITY]

  1. How would you describe your level of visual impairment? [READ LIST]
    • Partially-sighted     CONTINUE
    • Low-vision     CONTINUE
    • Legally blind     ASK Q12 THEN THANK/DISCONTINUE
    • Totally blind     ASK Q12 THEN THANK/DISCONTINUE
  2. Do you use text-to-speech assistive technology* on a personal device? [GET MIX]

    • Yes
    • No

[*RECRUITER NOTE: THIS MAY BE A PEN-LIKE DEVICE THAT SCANS AND READS ALOUD TEXT, OR AN APP THAT IS USED ON A MOBILE DEVICE FOR THE SAME PURPOSE.]

[ASK THOSE WITH A COGNITIVE DISABILITY]

  1. What is the nature of your cognitive disability? [RECORD SPECIFIC DISABILITY AND THEN CODE DISABILITY TYPE]

    Disability: ___________

    DO NOT READ:
    • Autism
    • Dementia
    • Developmental delay
    • Disability due to head/brain trauma
    • Down syndrome
    • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
    • Fragile X syndrome
    • Learning disability
    • Prader Willi syndrome
    • Other     [GO TO Q11 IF UNSURE OF ELIGIBILITY]

[ASK IF UNSURE OF ELIGIBILITY]

  1. Does this disability make it difficult for to learn, remember or concentrate?

    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     ASK Q12 THEN THANK/DISCONTINUE
  2. We have been asked to speak to participants from all different ages. May I have your age please? RECORD: __________. [GET MIX]
    • Under 18     THANK/DISCONTINUE
    • 18 to 24 years
    • 25 to 34 years
    • 35 to 44 years
    • 45 to 54 years
    • 55 to 64 years
    • 65 to 74 years
    • 75+ years     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  3. Have you ever voted in a municipal, provincial or federal election? [GET MIX]
    • Yes
    • No
  4. Could you please tell me what is the last level of education that you completed? [GET MIX]
    • Some high school
    • Completed high school
    • Some college/technical school/CEGEP
    • Graduated college/technical school/CEGEP
    • Some university
    • Graduated university
    • Graduate studies
  5. Have you ever attended a discussion group or taken part in an interview on any topic that was arranged in advance and for which you received money for your participation?

    • Yes
    • No     GO Q19
  6. When did you last attend one of these discussion groups or interviews? [DO NOT READ LIST UNLESS HELPFUL; RECORD RESPONSE]
    • Within the last 6 months     THANK/TERMINATE
    • 6 months to under 2 years     CONTINUE
    • 2 or more years     GO TO Q18
  7. Thinking about the groups or interviews that you have taken part in, what were the main topics discussed?

    • RECORD: _______________
    • THANK/TERMINATE IF RELATED TO VOTING/ELECTIONS
  8. How many discussion groups have you attended in the past 5 years?
    • Fewer than 5
    • 5 or more     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  9. Participants will be asked to look at some items, write out short comments and voice their opinions in front of others? Do you feel comfortable doing this?

    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/TERMINATE
  10. The discussion group will be audio/video-recorded. These recordings are used to help with analyzing the findings and writing the report. The results from the discussions will be grouped together in the research report, which means that individuals will not be identified in any way. Neither your name nor your specific comments will appear in the research report. Is this acceptable?

    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE
  11. There may be some people from the Government of Canada who have been involved in this project observing the session. They will not take part in the discussion and they will not know your name. Is this acceptable?

    • Yes     CONTINUE
    • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

[GO TO B: INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE]

B. Invitation to Participate

I would like to invite you to [FOCUS GROUPS: attend the focus group session where you will exchange your opinions in a moderated discussion with other Canadians from your community / INTERVIEWS: participate in an interview]. The [FOCUS GROUPS: discussion will be led by a researcher from the public opinion research firm, Phoenix SPI / INTERVIEWS: interview will be conducted by a researcher from the public opinion firm, Phoenix SPI]. The [group / interview] will take place on [DAY OF WEEK], [DATE], at [TIME] at [FACILITY]. It will last [FOCUS GROUPS: an hour and a half [90 minutes] / INTERVIEWS: up to 45 minutes] and we ask that you arrive 15 minutes early. People who attend will receive [ADJUST BASED ON AUDIENCE: $100 / $150] to thank them for their time. [PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: The facility where the discussion is being held is fully accessible for persons with disabilities.]

Would you be willing to attend?

  • Yes
  • No     THANK/DISCONTINUE

May I have your email address so that we can also send you an email message with the address where the group will be held?

  • Yes: ENTER EMAIL ADDRESS: ____________________
  • No: That's fine. Do you have a pen handy so that I can give you the address where the group will be held? It will be held at [INSERT FACILITY ADDRESS] at [TIME] on [DATE].

At the facility, you will be asked to produce photo identification, so please remember to bring something with you (for example, a driver's license). If you use glasses to read, please remember to bring them with you. Participants will be asked to review some materials in [ENGLISH/FRENCH] during the discussion.

As I mentioned, the session will be audio/video recorded for research purposes and representatives of the Government of Canada research team will be observing from an adjoining room. You will be asked to sign a waiver to acknowledge that you will be video recorded during the session. The recordings will be used only by the Phoenix SPI research team and will not be shared with others. All information collected in the group discussion will remain anonymous and be used for research purposes only in accordance with laws designed to protect your privacy.

As we are only inviting a small number of people to attend, your participation is very important to us. If for some reason you are unable to attend, please call us so that we can get someone to replace you. You can reach us at [INSERT NUMBER] at our office. Please ask for [INSERT NAME].

Someone will call you the day before to remind you about the session. So that we can call you to remind you about the focus group or contact you should there be any changes, can you please confirm your name and contact information for me?

First name:_________________

Last Name:_________________

Daytime phone number:_________________

Evening phone number:_________________

Focus Group Guide

Introduction (5 minutes)
  • Introduce moderator/firm and welcome participants to the focus group.
    • Thanks for attending/value your being here.
    • Tonight, we're conducting research on behalf of Elections Canada. Elections Canada is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. Elections Canada exercises general direction and supervision over the conduct of elections and referendums at the federal level.
    • We're looking for your opinion on potential design features for new ballots.
    • The discussion will last up to 1.5 hours.
    • If you have a cell phone or other electronic device, please turn it off.
  • Describe focus group.
    • A discussion group is a "round table" discussion.
    • My job is to facilitate the discussion, keeping us on topic and on time.
    • Your job is to offer your opinions.
    • There are no right or wrong answers. This is not a knowledge test.
    • Everyone's opinion is important and should be respected.
  • Explanations.
    • Your comments will be treated in confidence. We do not attribute comments to specific people. Our report summarizes the findings from the groups but does not mention anyone by name. That said, we ask that you do not provide any identifiable information about yourself.
    • Your responses will in no way affect your dealings with the Government of Canada.
    • The session is being audio-video recorded. Recording is for report writing purposes (to verify) feedback. The recordings remain in our possession and will not be released to anyone without your written consent.
    • Observers.
      • There are observers from Elections Canada who will be watching behind the one-way mirror.
      • Purpose: oversee the research process and see your reactions first-hand.
  • Any questions?
  • Roundtable introduction: Please tell us your first name and something that interests you.
Warm up (5 minutes)

As I mentioned, tonight we'll be talking about the design features of voting ballots.

  1. To start, have any of you ever voted in a municipal, provincial or federal election? HAND COUNT BY JURISDICTION What was your experience voting? KEEP BRIEF

[FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT VOTED:]

  1. People don't or can't vote for a variety of reasons. Is there any reason in particular you haven't voted? KEEP BRIEF
Review of Ballots (75 minutes)

Elections Canada is considering changes to the paper ballot and would like your feedback on the different design features. Tonight, we'll be asking you to review 8 ballots with different design features that could be used for federal elections.

Before we do that, I'm going to show you an example of the paper ballots that are currently used for voting in federal elections. PASS OUT CURRENT BALLOT; ONCE EVERYONE HAS ONE, HOLD UP THE BALLOT AND POINT OUT FEATURES; POINT OUT MAGNIFIERS TO PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES.

  1. How many of you are familiar with the ballot?
  2. What do you notice about this ballot? What stands out? KEEP BRIEF

    Probes if needed:
    • Size
    • Paper weight
    • Capital/lower case letters
    • Size of the circle
  3. What, if anything, would you suggest to improve the ballot...to make it easier to use? KEEP BRIEF

Now we're going to look at ballots with new design characteristics. Before we do that, please pass back the ballot. COLLECT CURRENT BALLOT.

As I mentioned, we'll look at 8 ballots in total, as two sets of 4 ballots.footnote 8 Here's the first one. PASS OUT FOLDED BALLOT AND PENCILS. We'll call it 'Ballot 1' [SEE ANNEX]. I'd like you to complete the ballot as though you were casting your vote. This means you need to select one of the fictional candidates on the ballot by placing an X in the circle opposite the candidates' name that you choose. Once you're done, refold the ballot and place it in front of you. When everyone is finished, we'll talk about the ballot as a group. ALLOW UP TO 10 MINUTES FOR THE FIRST BALLOT.

Ok, it looks like everyone is finished.

  1. Do you understand the ballot? If not, what is unclear?
  2. What did you first notice about the ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Size/width
    • Paper weight
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Size of the circle
    • Dots
    • [PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]: probe about personal devices as appropriate
  3. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes:
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Dots
    • Shading/lack of contrast
  4. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Did the ballot move/shift when you were marking your selection?
    • Was it hard to read the candidates' names / parties? If so, why?
    • [PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES]: Was it hard to mark your selection with an X without going beyond the circle?
  5. What about folding the ballot...
    1. was it clear how you are to refold the ballot? If not, what was confusing?
    2. was it easy or difficult to refold the ballot? What was difficult?
  6. [IF REFOLDING DIFFICULT] What could be done to make this easier for you?

Let's move to the next ballot in this set. I ask that you push Ballot 1 to the centre of the table. I'll collect these ballots in a minute, but first I'm going to hand out Ballot 2. PASS OUT BALLOT 2 UNFOLDED.

[GENERAL PUBLIC AND PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES] Please take a few minutes to examine this ballot, in silence, and then we'll talk about it as a group. ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR REVIEW OF BALLOT.

[PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES] Please complete the ballot as though you were casting your vote. Once you're done, we'll talk about the ballot as a group. ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR REVIEW OF BALLOT.

  1. What did you first notice about this ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Lower case letters [BALLOT 2 ONLY]
    • Dots
    • Shading/contrast
  2. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Font size/type
    • Capital letters [DON'T USE FOR BALLOT 2]
    • Dots
    • Shading/contrast
    • [PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]: probe about personal devices as appropriate

[ONLY ASK PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]

  1. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

Now let's move to the next ballot. COLLECT PREVIOUS BALLOT. REPEAT FOR BALLOTS 3 AND 4; ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR EACH BALLOT. ASK QUESTIONS 12-13 [AND 14 FOR GROUPS WITH PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES].

Now that you've looked at the first 4 ballots... HOLD UP BOARDfootnote 9 WITH BALLOTS 1-4 DISPLAYED AND PASS AROUND TABLE,

  1. Which of the four designs makes the ballot easiest to read and use? Why?

    Probes:
    • Surnames in title case (not all CAPS)
    • Shading of masking
      • Ballots 1 + 2 = 100%
      • Ballots 3 + 4 = 50%
    • Shading of dots
    • Ballots 1 + 2 + 3 = 100%
    • Ballot 4 = 50%

Now we're going to move to the second set of ballots. ENSURE THE FIRST SET OF BALLOTS IS OFF THE TABLE. Here's Ballot 5, the first ballot in the second set. PASS OUT BALLOT 5 UNFOLDED. I'd like you to complete the ballot as you did with the first ballot in the previous set. When everyone is finished, we'll talk about the ballot as a group. ALLOW UP TO 10 MINUTES FOR THE FIRST BALLOT.

  1. Do you understand the ballot? If not, what is unclear?
  2. What did you first notice about the ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Size/width
    • Paper weight
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Size of the circle
    • Dashes/lines
    • [PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]: probe about personal devices as appropriate
  3. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes:
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/lack of contrast
  4. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Did the ballot move/shift when you were marking your selection?
    • Was it hard to read the candidates' names / parties? If so, why?
    • [PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES]: Was it hard to mark your selection with an X without going beyond the circle?

Let's move to the next ballot in this set. I ask that you push Ballot 5 to the centre of the table. I'll collect these ballots in a minute, but first I'm going to hand out Ballot 6. PASS OUT BALLOT 6 UNFOLDED.

[GENERAL PUBLIC AND PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES] Please take a few minutes to examine this ballot, in silence, and then we'll talk about it as a group. ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR REVIEW OF BALLOT.

[PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES] As you did with the other ballots, please complete this one and, when you're done, we'll talk about the ballot as a group. ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR REVIEW OF BALLOT.

  1. What did you first notice about this ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Candidates' names/lettering
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/contrast
  2. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Font size
    • Capital letters
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/contrast
    • [PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]: probe about personal devices as appropriate

[ONLY ASK PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]

  1. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

Let's move to the next ballot in this set. COLLECT PREVIOUS BALLOT. REPEAT FOR BALLOTS 7-8; ALLOW UP TO 5 MINUTES FOR REVIEW OF EACH BALLOT. ASK QUESTIONS 20-21 [AND 22 FOR GROUPS WITH PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES].

Now that you've looked at the next 4 ballots... HOLD UP BOARDfootnote 10 WITH BALLOTS 5-8 DISPLAYED AND PASS AROUND TABLE,

  1. Which of the four designs makes the ballot easiest to read and use? Why?

    Probes:
    • Shading of masking
    • Ballot 5 = 100%
    • Ballots 6 + 7 = 30%
    • Ballot 8 = 50%
  2. Shading of dashes
    • Ballots 5 + 6 + 8 = 100%
    • Ballot 7 = 30%

Let's have one last look at the two sets of ballots all together. HOLD UP BOARDS.

  1. One of the key differences between the sets of ballots we looked at tonight is the use of dots and dashes. Is one any better than the other in terms of making the ballot easy to understand? Why?
  2. And what about the shading of the masking and the contrast with the dots and dashes... Is one any better than the other in terms of making the ballot easy to understand? Why?
  3. What about the size of the proposed ballot...does this make the ballot easier to use? Why or why not?
  4. Are there any other changes Elections Canada could make to the design of the ballot to make it easier to complete? MODERATOR: FOCUS TO BE ON THINGS RELATED TO READABILITY, SUCH AS CONTRAST AND DOTS VS. DASHES. REDIRECT PARTICIPANTS IF NECESSARY.

    Probe [FOR PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES]:
    • Which colours create the best contrast for you?

ONLY ASK Q28 OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:

  1. Do you think you would be able to fill out and submit the ballot on your own? If not, why is that? What could be done? WAIT FOR TOP-OF-MIND FEEDBACK BEFORE PROBING.
Conclusion (5 minutes)

We've covered a lot tonight and I really appreciate you taking the time to come and share your opinions. I'm going to leave the room now to check with the observers to see if there are any last questions for you. When I come back, I'm going to ask whether any of you has last thoughts that you want to give Elections Canada about the discussion topic.

MODERATOR WILL LEAVE THE ROOM AND CHECK WITH OBSERVERS TO SEE IF THERE ARE LAST QUESTIONS.

  1. Does anyone have any last thoughts or feedback to share with Elections Canada about the design features of the ballots you looked at today?

Thank you very much for your time. This concludes the discussion group. 1ST AND 2ND GROUP ONLY, ADD: When you leave the room, please don't discuss the topic. Participants for the second group will be in the waiting room.

Interview Guide

Introduction (5 minutes)
  • Introduce interviewer/firm.
    • Thank participant for attending.
    • Today, we're conducting research on behalf of Elections Canada. Elections Canada is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. Elections Canada exercises general direction and supervision over the conduct of elections and referendums at the federal level.
    • We'd like your opinion on potential design features for new ballots.
    • The interview will last up to 45 minutes.
    • If you have a cell phone or other electronic device, please turn it off.
  • Explain interview purpose.
    • Gauge opinions about issues/ideas/products
    • Not a knowledge test; no right or wrong answers (interested in opinions)
  • Explanations.
    • Your comments will be treated in confidence. We do not attribute comments to specific people. Our report summarizes the findings from the interviews but does not mention anyone by name. That said, we ask that you do not provide any identifiable information about yourself.
    • Your responses will in no way affect your dealings with the Government of Canada.
    • The interview is being audio-video recorded. Recording is for report writing purposes (to verify) feedback. The recordings remain in our possession and will not be released to anyone without your written consent.
    • Observers.
      • There are observers from Elections Canada who will be watching behind the one-way mirror.
      • Purpose: oversee the research process and see your reactions first-hand.
  • Any questions?
Warm up (5 minutes)
  1. To start, have you ever voted in a municipal, provincial or federal election? If so, how long ago was this? What was your experience voting? KEEP BRIEF

[IF NOT VOTED:]

  1. People don't or can't vote for a variety of reasons. What's the main reason you have not voted? KEEP BRIEF
Review of Ballots (35 minutes)

To start, here's an example of the paper ballots that are currently used for voting in federal elections. SHOW CURRENT BALLOT.

  1. What do you notice about the ballot? What stands out? KEEP BRIEF

    Probes if needed:
    • Size
    • Paper weight
    • Capital/lower case letters
    • Size of the circle
  2. What, if anything, would you suggest to improve the ballot...to make it easier to use? KEEP BRIEF

Now we're going to look at ballots with new design characteristics. COLLECT CURRENT BALLOT. As I mentioned, we'll look at 8 ballots in total, as two sets of 4 ballots.footnote 11 Here's the first one. PASS OUT FOLDED BALLOT 1 AND PENCIL. I'd like you to select one of the fictional candidates on the ballot by placing an X in the circle opposite the candidates' name. Once you're done, refold the ballot. INTERVIEWER: WATCH FOR DIFFICULTIES.

  1. Do you understand the ballot? If not, what is unclear?
  2. What did you first notice about the ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Size/width
    • Paper weight
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Size of the circle
    • Dots
  3. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes:
    • Font size
    • Dots
    • Shading/lack of contrast
  4. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?
  5. What about folding the ballot...
    • was it clear how to refold the ballot? If not, what was confusing?
    • was it easy or difficult to do? What was difficult?
  6. [IF REFOLDING DIFFICULT] What could be done to make this easier for you?

Let's move to the next ballot in this set. COLLECT BALLOT 1 AND PASS OUT BALLOT 2 UNFOLDED. MODERATOR: IF APPROPRIATE, HAVE PARTICIPANT COMPLETE EACH BALLOT; USE YOUR DISCRETION IN TERMS OF TIMING AND BURDEN ON THE PARTICIPANT.

  1. What do you first notice about this ballot...that is, what stands out?
    Probes:
    • Lower case letters [BALLOT 2 ONLY]
    • Dots
    • Shading/contrast
  2. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Font size/type
    • Capital letters [DON'T USE FOR BALLOT 2]
    • Dots
    • Shading/contrast

[IF PARTICIPANT COMPLETES EACH BALLOT]

  1. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

Ok, here's the next ballot. COLLECT PREVIOUS BALLOT. REPEAT FOR BALLOTS 3 AND 4. ASK QUESTIONS 11-13 AS RELEVANT.

Now that you've looked at the first 4 ballots...SHOW BOARDfootnote 12 WITH BALLOTS 1-4 DISPLAYED,

  1. Which of the four designs makes the ballot easiest to read and use? Why?

    Probes:
    • Surnames in title case (not all CAPS)
    • Shading of masking
      • Ballots 1 + 2 = 100%
      • Ballots 3 + 4 = 50%
    • Shading of dots
      • Ballots 1 + 2 + 3 = 100%
      • Ballot 4 = 50%

Now we're going to move to the second set of ballots. Here's Ballot 5, the first ballot in the second set. PASS OUT BALLOT 5 UNFOLDED. I'd like you to complete the ballot as you did with the first ballot in the previous set.

  1. Do you understand the ballot? If not, what is unclear?
  2. What did you first notice about the ballot...that is, what stood out?

    Probes:
    • Size/width
    • Paper weight
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Size of the circle
    • Dashes/lines
  3. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes:
    • Font (size, type, lower-case, upper case)
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/lack of contrast
  4. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Did the ballot move/shift when you were marking your selection?
    • Was it hard to read the candidates' names / parties? If so, why?

Let's move to the next ballot in this set. COLLECT PREVIOUS BALLOT. PASS OUT BALLOT 6 UNFOLDED. MODERATOR: IF APPROPRIATE, HAVE PARTICIPANT COMPLETE EACH BALLOT; USE YOUR DISCRETION IN TERMS OF TIMING AND BURDEN ON THE PARTICIPANT.

  1. What do you first notice about this ballot...that is, what stands out?

    Probes:
    • Candidates' names/lettering
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/contrast
  2. Is the text clear and easy to see? If not, what is difficult to read or see and why?

    Probes for 'difficult':
    • Font size
    • Capital letters
    • Dashes/lines
    • Shading/contrast
  3. Was it easy or difficult to select a candidate by marking the ballot? What was difficult?

Now let's move to the next ballot. COLLECT PREVIOUS BALLOT. REPEAT FOR BALLOTS 7-8. ASK QUESTIONS 19-21 AS RELEVANT.

Now that you've looked at the next 4 ballots... HOLD UP BOARDfootnote 13 WITH BALLOTS 5-8 DISPLAYED,

  1. Which of the four designs makes the ballot easiest to read and use? Why?

    Probes:
    • Shading of masking
      • Ballot 5 = 100%
      • Ballots 6 + 7 = 30%
      • Ballot 8 = 50%
    • Shading of dashes
      • Ballots 5 + 6 + 8 = 100%
      • Ballot 7 = 30%

Let's have one last look at the two sets of ballots all together. HOLD UP BOARDS.

  1. One of the key differences between the sets of ballots we looked at tonight is the use of dots and dashes. Is one any better than the other in terms of making the ballot easy to understand? Why?
  2. And what about the shading of the masking and the contrast with the dots and dashes... Is one any better than the other in terms of making the ballot easy to understand? Why?
  3. What about the size of the proposed ballot...does this make the ballot easier to use? Why or why not?
  4. Are there any other changes Elections Canada could make to the design of the ballot to make it easier to complete? INTERVIEWER: FOCUS TO BE ON THINGS RELATED TO READABILITY, SUCH AS CONTRAST AND DOTS VS. DASHES. REDIRECT PARTICIPANTS IF NECESSARY.
Conclusion

I really appreciate you taking the time to come and share your opinions. Do you have any last thoughts or feedback to share with the Government of Canada about the proposed ballots?

Thank you very much for your time. This concludes the interview.

Annex 2: Characteristics of Participants

The tables below provide characteristics of the research participants by audience.

General Public (18 participants)
City Gender Age Education
Toronto Male 45 to 54 years High School
Toronto Male 25 to 34 years Graduated university
Toronto Female 35 to 44 years Graduated university
Toronto Female 55 to 64 years Graduate studies
Toronto Female 18 to 24 years Graduated university
Toronto Female 25 to 34 years Graduated college
Toronto Female 45 to 54 years Graduated college
Toronto Female 35 to 44 years High School
Toronto Male 18 to 24 years Some college
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Graduated university
Montreal Male 25 to 34 years Graduated university
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Some university
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Some college
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Graduated university
Montreal Male 45 to 54 years Some college
Montreal Female 35 to 44 years Graduated college
Montreal Male 25 to 34 years Some college
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Graduated university


Persons with Physical Disabilities (18 participants)
City Gender Age Nature of Disability Education
Toronto Female 65 to 74 years Amputated limbs Graduated college
Toronto Female 55 to 64 years Multiple sclerosis Graduated university
Toronto Female 55 to 64 years Multiple sclerosis Graduated university
Toronto Male 35 to 44 years Spinal injury/spina bifida Some university
Toronto Male 25 to 34 years Mobility/agility disability Graduated university
Toronto Male 45 to 54 years Mobility/agility disability Graduated university
Toronto Female 45 to 54 years Multiple sclerosis Graduate studies
Toronto Male 25 to 34 years Mobility/agility disability Some high school
Toronto Female 45 to 54 years Mobility/agility disability Graduated college
Toronto Male 55 to 64 years Multiple sclerosis Some college
Montreal Male 55 to 64 years Quadriplegic Master's degree
Montreal Female 35 to 44 years Severe arthritis; cannot walk Completed university
Montreal Female 35 to 44 years Quadriplegic High school diploma
Montreal Female 55 to 64 years Born without a left hand Completed university
Montreal Female 25 to 34 years Paraplegic Cégep
Montreal Female 55 to 64 years Syringomyelia Master's degree
Montreal Male 55 to 64 years Left hand is 35% functional Some high school
Montreal Male 35 to 44 years Partial quadriplegic Some university


Persons with Visual Disabilities (16 participants)
Name Gender Age Nature of Disability Education
Toronto Female 25 to 34 years Partially-sighted Graduated university
Toronto Female 45 to 54 years Low-vision Graduated university
Toronto Male 65 to 74 years Partially-sighted Some university
Toronto Male 45 to 54 years Partially-sighted Graduate studies
Toronto Female 55 to 64 years Low-vision Graduated college
Toronto Male 35 to 44 years Partially-sighted Graduated college
Toronto Male 55 to 64 years Low-vision Some university
Montreal Female 55 to 64 years Partially-sighted Graduated university
Montreal Male 25 to 34 years Partially-sighted Some college
Montreal Male 45 to 54 years Partially-sighted Some high school
Montreal Male 45 to 54 years Low vision, blind in one eye Some high school
Montreal Female 35 to 44 years Partially-sighted Graduated university
Montreal Male 55 to 64 years Low-vision, macular degeneration Some university
Montreal Male 65 to 74 years Partially-sighted Graduated college
Montreal Female 45 to 54 years Partially-sighted Some high school
Montreal Female 35 to 44 years Low vision High school


Persons with Cognitive Disabilities (11 participants)
City Gender Age Nature of cognitive disability Education
Toronto Female 49 Dementia Graduated college
Toronto Male 42 Disability due to head/brain trauma Graduated college
Toronto Male 52 Dystonia; does not process information well High School
Toronto Male 49 Learning disability Graduated university
Toronto Male 23 Autism High School
Montreal Female 22 Autism Graduated college
Montreal Male 41 Traumatic brain injury High school
Montreal Female 33 Developmental delay due to a stroke Graduated college
Montreal Male 50 Traumatic brain injury Some high school
Montreal Female 51 Traumatic brain injury Graduate studies
Montreal Male 32 Disability due to head/brain trauma Some university

Annex 3: Ballot Designs Used for Focus Groups and Interviews

The ballots that follow are those that were used during the focus groups and interviews in Montreal and Toronto.

Current Ballot

Current Ballot

Ballot 1 [masking 100%, dots 100%]

Ballot 1 [masking 100%, dots 100%]

Ballot 2 [masking 100%, dots 100%, candidate surname not all caps]

Ballot 2 [masking 100%, dots 100%, candidate surname not all caps]

Ballot 3 [masking 50%, dots 100%]

Ballot 3 [masking 50%, dots 100%]

Ballot 4 [masking 50%, dots 50%]

Ballot 4 [masking 50%, dots 50%]

Ballot 5 [masking 100%, dashes 100%]

Ballot 5 [masking 100%, dashes 100%]

Ballot 6 [masking 30%, dashes 100%]

Ballot 6 [masking 30%, dashes 100%]

Ballot 7 [masking 30%, dashes 30%]

Ballot 7 [masking 30%, dashes 30%]

Ballot 8 [masking 50%, dashes 100%]

Ballot 8 [masking 50%, dashes 100%]

Annex 4: Feedback on Ballot Designs Used for Focus Groups and Interviews

This section reports on participant feedback related to each of the eight ballots. The section begins by reporting on feedback related to the ballots in Set 1 (ballots 1-4), followed by feedback related to the ballots in Set 2 (ballots 5-8).

Ballot 1 [masking 100%; dots 100%]:

Participants had no difficulty understanding this ballot or completing it in those instances when it was the first ballot presented to them. The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the black dots, with many adding that the dots are the same colour as the background. The use of dots tended to elicit critical feedback and they were routinely described as distracting or annoying ('aggressant' in Montreal). Some also suggested that the use of dots makes the ballot look less serious or less professional, while a few others suggested that names surrounded by more dots tend to be emphasized more and that this might influence the way people vote if they have no clear preference. Beyond this, the most frequently noted feature of this ballot when presented first was that it is larger than the existing ballot, with some adding that it is easier to read.

While the text was routinely described as clear, it was also suggested that the use of dots interferes with the capacity to focus on the text (particularly by persons with a visual disability). Participants who reviewed this ballot after having reviewed Set 2 often suggested that the use of dashes is much better than the use of dots in terms of facilitating a focus on the text.

Participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use most often explained that the black and white colour scheme provides a clear contrast that makes it easy to focus on the text. Some suggested that the voting circle in this ballot is crisp and clear, while some others said they like this ballot because it is traditional or what they are used to.

Ballot 2 [masking 100%; dots 100%; candidate surname not all caps]:

The first reaction most often elicited by this ballot was that it is similar to the previous one. Some participants noticed that the only difference between this version and the previous was the use of lower case lettering in the name MacALHANEY, but most did not. When this difference was pointed out, most participants expressed a preference for the uniform upper case version of the name in ballot 1, 'MACALHANEY'. Some, however, favoured the use of lower case lettering in the name–'MacALHANEY'–because they felt this is the correct way to spell the surname.

While feedback on this ballot tended to mirror feedback on ballot 1, some participants were under the impression that there were differences between them. For example, it was suggested that the paper quality was different in this ballot (i.e., more pliable) and that the names of the political parties seem bigger in this version than in the previous one.

Feedback regarding the clarity of the text was similar to that provided for ballot 1. The text was judged to be clear, though persons with a physical disability in Quebec were under the impression that the text is larger and therefore easier to read in this version than in ballot 1.

The few participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use provided reasons similar to those provided for ballot 1.

Ballot 3 [masking 50%; dots 100%]:

The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the switch in background colour from black to grey, but with the retention of black dots. This combination tended to elicit critical reactions from participants in both Montreal and Toronto. Some participants, particularly those with a visual disability, indicated that there is a lack of contrast that makes it more difficult to see the text, while others said that the black dots are more prominent in this version, the effect of which is that they are even more distracting in this version than the previous two versions. Some also suggested that the shade of grey in this version makes the ballot look less professional. This included impressions that the ballot looks 'photocopied', 'washed-out' or 'printed on a copier running out of ink'.

While the text was usually described as clear, participants often suggested that the text is not as clear and distinct as it is in ballots 1 and 2. In addition to the lack of contrast identified above, it was also suggested that the grey background reflects light more than versions with a black background, making the text in the latter versions easier to read. On the other hand, some participants found ballot 3 easier to read than ballots 1 and 2, describing it in general as much easier on their eyes. This includes a participant with myopia and a cognitive disability who finds it easier to focus on the text in this version.

The few participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use identified a good contrast as the reason why.

Ballot 4 [masking 50%; dots 50%]:

Participants routinely observed that the dots in this ballot are lighter than in the three previous ballots and feedback on this specific difference tended to be positive. Comments included the impression that this version causes less strain on the eyes (often noted by persons with a visual disability) and the impression that the names stand out better in this version because of the lighter shading of the dots. Some suggested that the text looks bigger and that there seems to be more space between the text and the dots in this version.

The text in this version was routinely described as clear, and most participants with a visual disability described it as the clearest version in the set. This ballot was identified by most participants as the version that is easiest to see and use in Set 1. That said, a couple of persons with a cognitive disability criticized this version. One indicated that the text is harder to see because of a lack of contrast, and the other indicated that the white circle in this version looks smaller than in ballots 1 to 3.

Participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use tended to re-iterate their general impressions of this version when explaining why–that is, the impression that the text stands out in this version because of the lighter dots and the impression that the text looks bigger and that there is more space between the text and the dots.

Ballot 5 [masking 100%; dashes 100%]:

Participants had no difficulty understanding this ballot or completing it in those instances when it was the first ballot presented to them. The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the use of dashes, particularly if participants began by reviewing Set 1 (i.e., dots). The use of dashes elicited positive feedback, especially by comparison with the use of dots. For example, all persons with a visual disability indicated that they prefer dashes to dots when reviewing this version. Beyond this, the most frequently noted feature of this ballot when presented first was that it is larger than the existing ballot, with some adding that it is easier to read.

There was widespread agreement that the text is clear, with participants often adding that the use of dashes contributes to the clarity of the text by drawing attention to it. As noted above, participants who reviewed Set 1 after Set 2 frequently suggested that the use of dashes is much better than the use of dots in terms of facilitating a focus on the text.

Participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use tended to provide reasons similar to those given for ballot 1. This includes the impression that the black and white colour scheme provides a clear contrast that makes it easy to focus on the text and the impression that this version looks traditional (i.e., it is what they are used to). In addition, it was often noted that the dashes tend to draw one's attention to the text. That said, it was suggested by a few participants that the ability to focus on the text is complicated by the fact that the dashes are the same colour as the text and the background (i.e., black).

Ballot 6 [masking 30%; dashes 100%]:

The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the switch in masking colour from black to grey, with many also noticing the retention of black dashes. This combination tended to elicit critical reactions in both Montreal and Toronto. Many, including persons with a visual disability, felt that there is a lack of contrast that makes it harder to see the text, with some in Toronto suggesting that the ballot has a 'washed out look'. Some specified that the lack of contrast is due to the fact that the dashes are the same colour as the text resulting in the latter not standing out. In addition, a few participants with a visual disability said that the grey colour hurts their eyes and makes it harder to read the text. Finally, some also suggested that the shade of grey in this version makes the ballot look 'cheaper' or 'less official'. By contrast, a couple participants with a cognitive disability liked this version, one observing that the grey background makes it easier to focus on the text and another observing that the font size looks bigger in this version.

While the text was usually described as clear, a number of participants suggested that the contrast is not as good as in ballot 5.

The few participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use identified a good contrast as the reason why (i.e., light background and dark dashes).

Ballot 7 [masking 30%; dashes 30%]:

The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the switch from black to light grey dashes, a change that tended to elicit positive feedback because it was seen as drawing attention to the black text and rendering it clear and distinct. It was also observed by some that the text appears to be bigger in this version (i.e., easier to see) and that the overall effect is easier on their eyes. One participant with a cognitive disability could not detect any difference between this version and ballot 6.

The text in this version was described as clear, and most participants with a visual disability described it as the clearest version in the set. This ballot was identified by most participants as the version in Set 2 that is easiest to see and use.

Participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use tended to re-iterate their general impressions of this version when explaining why–that is, the impression that the text stands out in this version because of the lighter dashes and the impression that the text looks bigger.

Ballot 8 [masking 50%; dashes 100%]:

The most frequently noticed feature of this ballot was the darker shade of grey (i.e., compared to ballot 7) and the return to black dashes. Some reacted positively to this version observing that they like the darker shade of grey masking than in ballots 6 and 7 (30 percent shading). Specifically, it was suggested that the white circle is more distinct in ballot 8, that it reflects light less than ballots 6 and 7, which makes it easier to read the text, and that the font size of the text looks bigger. On the other hand, many reacted critically, focussing on the use of dark dashes which was described as enhancing them and thereby making the text less clear and distinct. The latter point was made by a number of participants with a visual disability, especially in Montreal.

While the text was usually described as clear, a number of participants suggested that the contrast is not as good as in ballot 7 and that the text appears to be not as well spaced out as in the previous version.

Participants who identified this ballot as easiest to read and use (including half the persons with a visual disability in Toronto) said they liked the combination of black and grey (including the use of black dashes).


Footnote 8 Rotate the order of the sets (dots: ballots 1-4; dashes: ballots 5-8) across the focus groups. One group starts with dots and the next group starts with dashes, etc.

Footnote 9 Bristol board or poster board with the 4 ballots affixed.

Footnote 10 Bristol board or poster board with the 4 ballots affixed.

Footnote 11 Rotate the order of the sets (dots: ballots 1-4; dashes: ballots 5-8) across the focus groups. One group starts with dots and the next group starts with dashes, etc.

Footnote 12 Bristol board or poster board with the 4 ballots affixed.

Footnote 13 Bristol board or poster board with the 4 ballots affixed.