Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa believes voting in the province has taken a major step towards modernizing with the introduction of an e-registration system.
The Ontario Election’s website has implemented an online registration process that incorporates five identity verification steps that will take the user less than 10 minutes to complete. It also features a video tutorial for registering to vote in the general election next spring, as well as registration for individuals age 16 and 17 interested in being voters in the future.
“In just a few easy steps, Ontarians can verify or add their information to the voters list,” Essensa told The Journal via email.
Individuals who complete the online registration will receive a voter card closer to the date of elections that directs them to their designated voting booths. Submitting updated voter information by paper remains an option for those who choose not to utilize the online function.
“The 18 to 24 age group is the least represented on polling day,” Essensa wrote. “This age group is busy and mobile and we need to be able to effectively reach them.”
According to statistics published by Elections Canada, voters age 18 to 24 produced the smallest voter turn-out in the 2015 general election, totalling a 57.1 per cent turn-out. However, this was a significant jump from the 2011 elections, when the same age group only produced a 38.8 per cent turn-out.
The goal of the e-registration system is to ensure younger voters are motivated by the ease of the process. Upon registration, they will be mailed their Voter Information Card (VIC) cards directly, allowing for a more refined registration process and hopefully larger turn out.
One of the major concerns during election period is the lack of complete voter profiles that result in these cards not being mailed out. Per the Ontario Voters list, inaccurate or missing information is the case for almost one million voters not receiving their cards.
“With up-to-date voter data verified by voters themselves, Elections Ontario can more successfully deliver the VIC to the right person at the right address before the next provincial election,” said Essensa. “The voter information card is the key to an efficient election.”
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