Maintaining a good elector list is one of the more challenging aspects of an election. In fact, some municipalities forgo the entire maintenance of a list altogether, relying on voters to register themselves on election day. Each level of government has their own business rules surrounding elector list maintenance lending way to variance in quality of lists. But why is it so important? Why not have voters register themselves on election day? Here are 5 reasons why maintaining a good elector list is so important.
Having a good elector list is a huge cost savings tool. Without it, your election body is rebuilding the list from scratch every election period which takes time and money. This can also lead to lower turnout. Voters who may have already registered at a different level will be frustrated to repeat a process they believe they’ve already completed. Lacking a list increases your cost but doesn’t increase your participation causing the cost per vote to increase substantially.
You don’t have to build your list from scratch. In fact, many provincial and municipal bodies have agreements with the level above to share updates to the elector list. Quebec is well known to have one of the most up to date and thorough electors lists due to its symbiotic relationship with Elections Canada. This relationship allows both parties to share the burden of maintaining elector lists for Quebec.
It makes happier voters
Voters get very frustrated going to the polls only to find out their address is dated even though they’ve already updated it in a previous election or that they’re not even on the list even though they voted recently. What voters don’t often understand is that the lists are maintained by different bodies so just because they updated info with Elections Canada doesn’t mean that change will be reflected with in their local municipality. As a voter, that’s frustrating. As administrators, we can remedy that if we find solutions to maintain a strong and clean elector list and work with our federal, provincial, or municipal counterparts.
It makes for a shorter electoral period
No more enumeration. Voters can register easily online or update their information against an existing record. The lead time to set up an election decreases dramatically, connecting us back to the first point, that elections with good elector lists are cheaper while also being more efficient.
Integrous elections are a cornerstone of any democracy. Integrity is made of many factors in an election but from a voter’s perspective, a clean list, meaning when they show up to vote their data is current and accurate, means the election is being managed well. Trust between the voter and electoral body grows and turnout increases.
Having a good elector list takes time to build but there are many resources to support you including Elections Canada or your provincial election body. Technology can also be leveraged to support the maintenance of your list. To learn more about elector lists, why they’re important, and how technology can help maintain a strong list, contact a member of our team at email@example.com.