Voting in the age of Google

Voting in the age of Google

by Bev Wagar

I’ve voted in every provincial election since I turned 18. So I was surprised to learn that my name was not on the voters list. It’s easy to find out if you’re on it. Just visit the Voter Information Service web site (https://voterinformationservice.elections.on.ca) and fill in the form. Within minutes the system will tell you whether you’re on the voters list.

Partly out of research for this article and partly because I wanted to reduce hassle at the poll on June 7, I wanted to get my name on the list, a.k.a the “Permanent Register of Electors for Ontario”. Once you’re on the list, you don’t need to re-register for subsequent provincial elections—you’re automatically included on the list of electors. As well, Elections Ontario will mail, by Canada Post, a Voter Information Card that tells you the location of your polling place and the hours it is open.

Getting on the list was actually pretty easy.  I googled “Ontario Election Voters List” and the page I wanted was the first result: www.elections.on.ca. A lot of care has gone into this website so far as usability and interface go. There’s no bafflegab and the layout is clear. I used my laptop but it works with all browsers as well as phones and tablets.

If you can’t or don’t want to register online, you can use regular mail. Elections Ontario will mail you the forms—just phone them at 1-866-714-2808. You will need to photocopy your documentation (proof of age and residency) and mail it back with your completed form.

The online form first asks you for your complete name, your address, and date of birth. Then it checks to see if you’re already on the list. This takes only seconds. If you are on the list you will receive your Voter Information Card will be mailed to you automatically.

If you’re not on the list you are invited to proceed with an online registration.  There are three prerequisites. First, you need to be a Canadian citizen. Second, you need to be 18 or older on election day, and three, you need to live in Ontario. There are identification documents required. You do not need government-issued ID as you can also use documents that show your name and address, such as a utility bill. Your name and address can appear on separate documents. Here is a full list of acceptable identification documents.

  • Ontario driver’s licence
  • Ontario photo card
  • Ontario motor vehicle permit
  • Statement of government benefits
  • CNIB ID
  • Band council identification
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Loan statement or agreement
  • Utility bill
  • Cell phone bill
  • Insurance policy or statement
  • Hospital record or document
  • Residential lease
  • Mortgage agreement or statement
  • Cheque stub, T4 slip or pay receipt
  • School admissions letter
  • Transcript or report card
  • School tuition or fees statement

I used my drivers licence number for the online system but you can also send your documentation as an upload—either an image or a pdf. The process asks you for contact information (phone number and email) but this is optional. You’ll also be asked if you want Elections Ontario to share your information with municipal and federal election agencies, as well as MPAC.

Whether or not you are on the voters list, and even if you received a voter information card in the mail, you still need to bring ID with you to the polling station on June 7. Make sure your ID includes your name and your residential address.

If you don’t have documentation you may still vote on election day. You will require one piece of identification if you’re on the voter list or one piece of identification and a proof of residence if you’re not.

Get out there and vote.


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