ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE
You must register to vote. Registration confirms eligibility to vote; in Yukon this means being a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age on polling day, and a resident of the Yukon for 12 months prior to polling day. Accurate information is critical to confirm eligibility and to correctly assign electors to the proper electoral district and polling division.
A pre-registered elector does not have to register at the polls and will receive a Voter Information Card with information regarding how and where to vote. This simplifies the voting process and supports elector access to the vote and awareness of key voting options, places and timelines.
If an elector is not registered, they can still register during the election period (a minimum of 31 days) during the revision periods or online. They can also register when applying for a special ballot at the returning office, to vote at an advance poll, or to vote at the ordinary poll on polling day.
16 & 17-YEAR-OLD REGISTRATIONS – FUTURE ELECTORS
While 16 and 17 years old are not eligible to vote until they are at least 18 years old on polling day, they can register if they meet the two remaining criteria; being a Canadian citizen and being a resident of the Yukon for at least 12 months prior to polling day. As such, many current 16 and 17 year olds may turn 18 and be eligible to vote at the next election.
Registered 16 and 17 year olds are not included on the List of Electors until they reach 18 years of age by polling day. At that time, they will be automatically added and will be sent Voter Information Cards.
ENUMERATION VERSUS REGISTER OF ELECTORS
In 2016 and earlier Yukon territorial elections, a territory-wide enumeration process was conducted to create a one-time list of registered electors. This process identified 21,218 electors in May 2016. It is estimated that this process registered less than 75% of eligible electors as some residents were not at home or did not answer, and some properties and residences were not known or missed. In addition, elector moves over the six months between enumeration and the November election introduced additional inaccuracies.
The Elections Act change in 2015 authorized the establishment of a permanent register for the territorial election following the 2016 election. With this change, Yukon’s permanent register process has aligned with all other federal, territorial and provincial election authorities. The permanent register is continuously updated for coverage, accuracy, and currency. Information accuracy, particularly updated civic addresses, are a key challenge.
The permanent register of electors was established based on already-registered electors in 2016 for the territorial election and electors registered with Elections Canada. To be on the list, an elector would have to register. In 2016, elector coverage, the percentage of electors that are registered versus the number of potential electors, is estimated to be 85% acknowledging some name and address inaccuracies. Typically, coverage ranges from 94-99% in the other jurisdictions across Canada.
As such, Elections Yukon continues to build on elector coverage through outreach to electors to register in order to increase coverage; online registration and early registration of 16 and 17 years old will support voter registration and information accuracy.
Register is accuracy is a key focus. With enumeration, and up to 5 years between enumeration coverage, information can quickly become outdated and inaccurate. This means Voter Information Cards are sent to previous or incorrect addresses, elector districts or polling divisions are improperly assigned, and electors must register at polling locations to vote.
A permanent register relies on voter updating, Elections Yukon registration campaigns, online access and data sharing with electoral authorities to update address information of registered electors. This allows correction for duplicate electors and confirms addresses. This will reduce corrections at the polling places in electoral district and voter information cards are sent to current and correct address.
With a permanent register, turnout is improved. Electors are aware they are registered and are eligible to vote. The voter information card, which many electors stick on their fridge, is a reminder and has important information to support their participation.
PARTICIPATION IN TERRITORIAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 2016
In 2016, after enumeration, revision periods, and registering at the polls, and after list review to remove duplicates and deletions, 24,688 electors were registered. An estimate, based on Yukon Bureau of Statistics and Elections Canada information, indicated there were up to 29,000 potential electors at that time. As such, as many as 4500 electors were not registered and did not vote. Missed enumeration, lack of online registration, or insufficient information may have contributed to this number.
In 2016, 18,840 electors voted of the 24,688 registered electors. This represents a 76.4% turnout noting that this is based on a coverage of less than 85% of registered voters. A total of 5800 electors did not vote. Incorrect registration information and non-receipt of voter information cards may have contributed to this number.
In total, for the territorial election of 2016, for one reason or another, up to 10,000 electors, did not vote. There are 19 electoral districts in the Yukon. Of these, 15/19 electoral districts were won by less than 100 votes; of these, 3/15 districts were won by between 25 and 50 votes, and 5/15 were won by less than 25 votes.
Registration and accurate information will support a simpler, faster and more convenient process to vote. Greater coverage will include more Yukoners as registered electors and greater information accuracy will support elector access and awareness.
ELECTIONS YUKON WEBSITE
Link to Registration Portal