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Voter Registration Safeguards

Voter registration is a safeguard in itself. The National Register of Electors is a permanent, continuously updated database of Canadians who are eligible to vote in federal elections and referendums. It contains the name, address, gender and date of birth of each registered elector, along with a unique identifier to help track changes to the elector' s registration record. An accurate Register helps ensure that only those who are eligible to vote cast a ballot and that they do so in the correct riding (electoral district).

Making sure people are eligible

  • When a person registers, they must affirm 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 a person votes, they must show ID with the same name and address as are on the list of electors.
  • To make sure that ineligible individuals have not been registered, Elections Canada compares information it receives from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with that in the National Register of Electors and removes any non-citizens from the Register. After an election, Elections Canada also uses information from the IRCC to verify whether non-citizens have voted. Potential cases of  non-citizens having voted may be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

Keeping track of who has already voted

  • Many safeguards are in place to make sure that only eligible individuals can vote and that they vote only once and only in the electoral district where they are registered.
    • Electors must vote in person at their assigned polling location or by special ballot.
    • 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 in the election.
  • Elections Canada also does verification checks after an election, including reviewing our records to see if there are any irregularities.
    • All election materials are kept for 10 years. If there are potential irregularities, individuals authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer may open sealed poll bags to re-examine the ballots in question.
  • It is illegal to vote more than once in a federal election.

Updating voter registrations

  • More than 27 million Canadians are eligible to vote. Most of them are already registered.
  • The Canadian electorate is constantly changing: every year, 2.6  million Canadians move; 150,000 become citizens; 370,000 turn 18; and 300,000  electors pass away.
  • To keep up with the changes, Elections Canada continually updates voter registrations .
    • On an ongoing basis, Canadians can use our Online 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 in the National Register of Electors using data from over 40 sources, including:
      • the Canada Revenue Agency, for people who give consent on their tax return allowing their information to be shared with Elections Canada
      • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada , for new Canadian citizens who give consent on their application for citizenship allowing their information to be shared with Elections Canada
      • provincial/territorial driver' s licence bureaus and vital statistics agencies (for deaths)
      • provincial/territorial voters lists or electoral registers
    • During elections, electors can also register or update their registration by:
      • visiting an Elections Canada revisal desk in a public venue near their home
      • going to or calling their Elections Canada office
      • registering at their assigned polling station just before they vote

Guarding voters' privacy

  • Elections Canada holds limited personal information about electors, including their 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 numbers or email addresses of people who gave this information to us so that 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 make sure that the personal information we hold is kept secure and used for authorized purposes only:
    • Elections Canada staff are screened and trained on privacy and security.
    • We have technological and physical safeguards in place to restrict access to personal information.
  • Elections Canada upholds the Privacy Act.