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Interested in helping your community members get ready for the next federal election?

Step 1: Learn about the barriers that your community members may face

  • Research shows that although all Canadian citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in a federal election, some groups – including Indigenous electors, electors with disabilities, youth electors and new Canadians – continue to face barriers to the electoral process.
  • These barriers include not knowing where to register or how to update their registration, how they can vote, being unable to provide the proper identification, and not understanding the voting process.
  • Sharing information on how to register and vote in federal elections is important if you feel that members of your community face these barriers.

To learn more about these barriers, visit the Inspire Democracy website.

Did you know?

The right of every Canadian citizen to play a meaningful role in the electoral process is protected by law under Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Step 2: Discover the tools to help address barriers to registering and voting

  • Elections Canada has produced the following resources to help you:
    • Elector's Guidebook to Registering and Voting: This toolkit includes a step-by-step guide that you can use in your outreach to help electors through their journey. The kit focuses on registration and voting. See below for more information.
    • Inspire Democracy toolkits: These toolkits are designed for community organizers to walk them through some of the many ways to participate in a federal election.
    • Voter Information Campaign products: These include infographics, flyers, videos, and more about the upcoming federal election that you can use to engage your community. The campaign also includes information about the health and safety measures in place to keep polling places safe for everyone during the pandemic.
  • You can also use outreach tools to spark discussion about elections:
    • Democracy Talks: A series of discussions designed to engage citizens in politics.
    • Vote PopUp: A toolkit to ignite interest in elections and explain the voting process for first-time and infrequent voters.

Did you know?

These Elections Canada materials are available in three accessible formats, 16 indigenous languages and 32 heritage languages:

Did you know?

The Elections Canada website is the official source for all election material, and is a great resource. All official election information (TV and radio ads, videos and social media content) can be found there which will be continually updated.

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Step 3: Make a plan

Now that you know about all the registering and voting options that are available, you can start making a plan to help your community register and vote!

A good plan is an important step when trying to organize activities in your community. It is even more important during a pandemic. We recommend sharing information early and digitally wherever possible, especially when engaging with more vulnerable electors who may be at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. Activities can include: engaging with audiences digitally, putting up posters, handing out Voter Information Campaign products at your community centre, sharing social media messages and organizing an information session or an election simulation like Vote PopUp. Don't forget to set your goals for each activity. It's always a good idea to have some calls to action for your community members, too!

Did you know?

One of the most effective tools in enhancing voter participation is encouraging someone to vote or asking someone to volunteer to help.

Finding people who may be interested in helping

  • When making your plan, start by identifying the people who might want to help you. For example, it is always good to have people on your team who could help with logistics or communications to your community.
  • Look for people who are active on social media. They can help you get the word out to your community members.
  • Individuals who were active in engaging your community during the last general election or in provincial elections may have recommendations and best practices to share with you.
  • Once an election is called, you may want to contact the returning officer at the Elections Canada office in your riding. If you want to bring a group to vote at an Elections Canada office, let the returning officer know ahead of time. The returning officer is responsible for organizing and administering federal elections in their riding and for hiring all the election workers in their riding. Find your riding.
  • Once an election is called, the returning officer can put you in touch with a community relations officer. This person is responsible for sharing information with specific communities that face barriers in the riding.

How can I help my community members with registering and voting?

There are many ways to help get your community members ready. Remember to review the information from the previous section and all the other tools that are available at your fingertips like the Voter's Checklist.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure people have the right identification. Tell them about the list of ID options that are available to all Canadians.
  • Many groups that face barriers to the voting process are unaware of the early voting services that are offered during a federal election. When engaging your community, make sure you let them know there are many ways to vote. You can find all the voting options in Toolkit 3.
  • Help people register to vote using the Online Registration Service. You can set up a place or an online meeting where they can register online for an election with your guidance. If there are any problems, find out how to troubleshoot or call Elections Canada for help. If someone you are helping has trouble registering online, help them apply to vote by mail or  contact the Elections Canada office in their riding during an election.
  • If members of your community are not familiar with the voting process, consider running a Vote PopUp. This is a great way to explain the voting process.

When should I start these activities?

  • Start helping your community members register or helping them check their registration before an election is called by using the Online Voter Registration Service.
  • More products will be available on the Elections Canada website once an election is called.
  • We have tools to help you decide what to say and when to say it.
  • It's a good idea to review the electoral calendar. This calendar typically begins 36 days before a federal election and contains all the dates your community needs to know about. If an election is called earlier than usual, the calendar could be up to 50 days.
  • More products will be available on the Elections Canada website once an election is called.
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Step 4: Carry out your plan

You have the tools and a plan to address some of the information barriers that your community may face when it comes to registering and voting. Now you need to put them into action.

When carrying out your plan to engage your community members on registering and voting, you may want to connect with us to get information products to hand out during your event. There are both print and digital tools you can use. Remember, we have many tools to help you on your journey to engage your community: you're not alone! We suggest that you check the Inspire Democracy website regularly, as new resources will be available in the months before a general election.

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Step 5: Tell us how it went

Elections Canada wants to hear from you!

Tell us how we can better engage with your community during the next election:

For more information, contact us.

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