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Voter Registration Safeguards

The federal electoral process has many safeguards, including measures that keep voter registration information accurate and up to date.

Updating voter registrations

  • Canada has more than 27 million eligible electors. Most of them are already registered.
  • The voter registration picture is constantly changing: every year, 2.9 million Canadians move; 100,000 become citizens; 400,000 turn 18; and 300,000 electors pass away.
  • To keep up with the changes, Elections Canada updates voter registrations continually.
    • On an ongoing basis, Canadians can use our Voter Registration Service to check if they are registered, register for the first time, or update the address on their registration.
    • Between elections, Elections Canada updates registrations using data from over 40 sources, including:
      • the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for people who tick boxes on their tax return allowing their information to be shared with Elections Canada
      • driver's licence bureaus
      • provincial/territorial voters lists
    • During elections, electors can also register or update their registration by:
      • visiting an Elections Canada revisal desk in their lobby or a public venue near their home
      • going to, or calling their Elections Canada office
      • registering at their assigned polling station just before they vote

Making sure people are eligible

  • When people register, they must sign a written affirmation that they are a Canadian citizen and will be at least 18 years old on election day. They must also prove their identity and address.
  • When they vote, voters must present ID with the same name and address as that on their voter registration file.
  • Elections Canada contacts electors directly by mail to verify their information or to invite them to register, if they are eligible. Elections Canada also receives information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to remove non-citizens from the National Register of Electors. Following the election, Elections Canada also uses that information to verify whether non-citizens voted. If non-citizens are found to have voted, cases may be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

Keeping track of who has already voted

  • Many safeguards are in place to help ensure that only eligible electors can vote and that they vote only once and only in the electoral district where they live.
    • Electors must vote at their assigned polling station.
    • Once someone votes in person or asks for a special ballot, election workers mark the list of electors to show that the person has already voted and cannot vote again at this election.

Guarding voters' privacy

  • Elections Canada holds limited private elector information, including the name, address and date of birth.
    • We do not have electors' social insurance (SIN) numbers.
    • We do not generally have electors' phone numbers or email addresses.
      • We only have the phone number or email address of people who gave it to us so we can follow up with them about a specific request.
      • Elections Canada does not provide electors' phone numbers or email addresses to political parties or anyone else.
  • Elections Canada takes many precautions to ensure that the private information we hold is kept secure and used for authorized purposes only:
    • Elections Canada staff are screened and trained in privacy and security.
    • There are technology and physical safeguards in place to restrict access to private information.
  • Elections Canada upholds the Privacy Act.