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FAQs on Registration

Basics

Maintaining voter registration information


Online voter registration

Basics

Do I have to be registered in order to vote?

Yes. Here's how to register.


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Am I already registered to vote?

Check online to see if you're registered to vote in federal elections.

If you can't check online, you can call us to ask if you're registered.

Most eligible voters are already registered in the National Register of Electors, the permanent database of Canadians eligible to vote in federal elections.

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How do I register to vote?

  • Register online — Most people can register online by providing the number from their driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card to confirm their identity.
  • Register using the Online Document Submission feature of the Online Voter Registration Service— Those who are not offered the option to register online using their driver’s licence or provincial / territorial ID card can complete their registration by using the Online Document Submission feature to upload proof of identity and address.
  • Register by mail (outside a general election) — Contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

After an election is called, you can also register at your local Elections Canada office or at your polling place when you go to vote.

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How do I update my address on my voter registration?

Update your address using the Online Voter Registration Service.

If you can't update your address online, contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

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How do I make changes to my voter registration information?

To update your address, use the online registration service or contact us to request a registration form.

To change your name or make other kinds of registration updates, please contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

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I have legally changed my name. How do I update my registration?

Check online to see if you're registered under your new name or previous name.

To change your name, please contact us to request a registration form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.

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I moved recently. Am I still registered to vote?

If you were registered before you moved, you are likely still registered. However, you may need to update your address.

Check online to see if you are registered at your current address or learn how to update your address.

It's possible we received your new address from another source, like the Canada Revenue Agency, your driver's licence agency or your provincial or territorial elections agency. We use several sources to update voter registration information.

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If I register by mail, what types of ID are accepted?

If you register by mail, you must include a photocopy of your proof of identity and address. We accept:

  • a copy of any document showing your name, address and signature (e.g. driver's licence), or
  • copies of two documents:
    • one showing your name and address (e.g. telephone bill), and
    • one showing your name and signature (e.g. health card or library card).

If some of the information appears on the back of the document(s), you must photocopy both sides.

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If I register online, what types of ID are accepted?

If you register online:

  • You may be requested to provide the number on your driver's licence (from any province or territory except Quebec), or your provincial or territorial ID card (from Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan or Yukon). Or
  • You could be offered the option to use the Online Document Submission feature of the Online Voter Registration Service, consult the list of acceptable identification to find out which documents can be included with your application.

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Maintaining voter registration information

How does Elections Canada keep voter registrations accurate and up to date?

We keep voter registration information in a database called the National Register of Electors, which we update regularly using information from several sources. The National Register of Electors has a high level of coverage and currency. As of August 1, 2015, it included an estimated 92.7% of all electors, of whom an estimated 91.0% were registered at their current address.

People who register or update their registration must affirm that the information they provide is current and correct. Under the Canada Elections Act, it's illegal to make false statements about voter registration information, and those convicted face penalties.

As a final check before voters can cast their ballots, polling place staff ask them to prove their identity and address. The information on the voter's proof of identity and address must match the information on the voters list. If there is an omission or error on the voters list, the voter can request a correction.

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What is the National Register of Electors?

The National Register of Electors (the Register) is the permanent database of Canadians aged 18 and older who are eligible to vote in federal elections and referendums. Created in 1997, the Register is continually updated using federal, provincial and territorial administrative and electoral data sources. Elections Canada uses information from the Register to produce voters lists (lists of electors).

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Can I opt out of the National Register of Electors and keep my right to vote?

Yes. Learn more about opting out of the National Register of Electors.

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What is a voters list (list of electors)?

A voters list (list of electors) shows all of the people who are registered to vote in a particular polling division (area within a riding). Voters lists are based on information in the National Register of Electors, the permanent database of Canadians aged 18 and older who are eligible to vote in federal elections and referendums.

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Do you share voter registration information with other agencies or groups?

Yes. Elections Canada provides voter registration information from the National Register of Electors – name, address, date of birth, gender and unique identifier number – to most provincial and territorial elections agencies. We also provide information to some municipalities, upon request and where data sharing agreements exist. Elections Canada agreements include conditions on data use. Sharing voter registration information improves the accuracy of voters lists, makes it easier for people to vote, and saves taxpayer money. Learn more about how we share voter registration information with other elections agencies.

As required by the Canada Elections Act, we also provide voters lists (containing name, address and unique identifier number) to candidates, members of Parliament and registered political parties, who may use the information for specific, authorized purposes. The Guidelines on Use of the Lists of Electors explain what information is shared with MPs, parties and candidates, when it is shared, and how they are authorized to use it.

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If I update my voter registration with Elections Canada, will the update be sent to my provincial, territorial or municipal elections agency?

It may be, after a delay. Elections Canada shares voter registration information – name, address, date of birth, gender and unique identifier number – with the elections agencies in most provinces and territories and with some municipalities, upon request. There is often a delay of several weeks or months before the voter information is sent and gets reflected in the respective provincial, territorial and municipal voters lists.

If your province or territory is having an election (or is about to have one), please contact your provincial or territorial elections agency directly to register or update your registration. Likewise, if there is an upcoming election in your municipality, please contact your municipality directly.

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Do I have to report the death of an elector?

Family members of the deceased and executors do not have to notify Elections Canada about the death of an elector unless it occurred outside of Canada. In that case, please contact Elections Canada.

Elections Canada receives notices of death from most provincial and territorial vital statistics agencies, the Canada Revenue Agency, and provincial and territorial agencies with permanent voters' lists. This information is used to remove the names of the deceased from federal voters' lists.

As an alternative, once the federal election is called, you may contact the Elections Canada office in your electoral district for removal of a deceased elector. It may take up to 48 hours after the start of an election for Elections Canada to post the phone number and addresses of the local Elections Canada office on our website (Voter Information Service).

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Online voter registration

I updated my address online with Elections Canada. Will you give my new address to my driver's licence agency?

No. You must contact your driver's licence agency directly to update your address with them. Elections Canada does not provide any information to driver's licence agencies.

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If I use the online registration service on a public computer, should I take extra steps to protect my privacy?

Yes. If you use the service in a public place like a library, take these steps:

  • delete any outstanding print jobs
  • do not save any filled PDF forms
  • clear the web browser cache and close the web browser (see instructions below)

Your web browser is the computer program that lets you see web pages. Some popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Browsers have a "cache," a temporary storage area that tracks information on the web pages you visit. To maintain your privacy on a public computer, clear the browser's cache after each session.

How to clear your web browser cache – instructions for different browsers

  • In Firefox, go to Tools > Clear Recent History.
  • In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Delete Browsing History.
  • In Chrome, click on the wrench icon in the top right-hand corner. Go to Bonnet > Clear Browsing Data.
  • In Safari, go to Safari > Empty Cache > Empty.

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You offer online voter registration. Does this mean I can vote online?

No. We do not offer online voting.

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I'm having trouble using the online registration service. What should I do?

If the online service is not working for you, below are the possible reasons why and some solutions.

  • You moved recently

    If you are registered but have moved recently, the online service may not recognize your new address. The results screen will show this message: "Double-check your address"

    Follow these steps to update your address:

    • Click on "go back to the Enter information screen" and enter your old address. If the service finds you, it will say you are registered and give you this message:
      "Need to update your address?"
    • Click on "Update your home or mailing address here" to enter your new address.
  • You need to re-enter your address

    It's possible that you made a typing mistake or entered information in the wrong field (for example, unit instead of suffix). The results screen will show this message:
    "Double-check your address"

    You can click on "go back to the Enter information screen" to review and resubmit your information.

  • You changed your name

    If you have changed your name (for example, after getting married) the service may not recognize your new one. You can't update your name online. Here's how to update your name on your voter registration.

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I submitted my address correction or registration request online. Will you send further confirmation that my request has been accepted?

If you'd like to check if your update has been accepted, you can revisit the Online Voter Registration Service at a later date and check if you are registered at the correct address.

If you have submitted your registration using the Online Document Submission you will be given a registration request reference number in your result message. If you provided your email address when using the Online Document Submission feature to submit your registration request, you will also receive an email with your registration request reference number. You can check the status of your request using this number from the Online Voter Registration Service Welcome page.

When an election is called, we will mail a voter information card to the mailing address we have on file for you.

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What if I don't have a driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card?

Most online transactions do not require a driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card. If your request requires a card that you do not have, there are other ways to register.

You may still register online using the Online Document Submission feature of the Online Voter Registration Service to upload your proof of identity and address. Consult the list of acceptable identification to find out which documents can be included with your application.

If there's a federal election or by-election underway in your electoral district, you can register by contacting your local Elections Canada office. If you must go in person, remember to bring acceptable proof of identity and address with you. You can find your local office through the Voter Information Service. If you need assistance, contact Elections Canada Headquarters at 1-800-463-6868.

Learn more about voter registration

The National Register of Electors

Revision, the process of updating voter registrations during election periods