According to Elections Canada research, more than half of Canadians are opposed to allowing voters to cast their ballots over the internet in federal elections. This opinion was included in the National Electors Study, which produces two reports after each federal election, one on voter experience and the other on the effectiveness of Elections Canada’s Voter Information Campaign. The latest report on voter experience, issued in September 2022, showed that 52 percent of respondents disagreed that voting over the internet should be an option, with 31 percent strongly disagreeing and 21 percent somewhat disagreeing.
Of those surveyed, the age groups more likely to agree that internet voting should be an option were electors aged 35 to 54 (45 percent), electors who completed university (45 percent), and Atlantic voters (54 percent). When asked whether voting on the internet is safe or risky, only 25 percent of respondents said it is safe while 53 percent said it is risky and 22 percent were unsure. In the 2019 poll, a smaller percentage (49 percent) said internet voting is risky.
The 2021 report “Protecting Public Health and Democracy During a Possible Pandemic Election” suggested the government explore the options for establishing a vote by phone option, but the proposal was rejected by a House of Commons committee before the 2021 federal election. The committee voted 6 to 5 to ban smartphone voting due to the risk of fraud.
Canada’s federal elections have always been hand-counted using paper ballots, and in the most recent National Elector’s Study, 34 percent of respondents said they preferred having paper ballots hand-counted, 37 percent had no preference, while 26 percent preferred machine counting. In 2019, more respondents (37 percent) said they preferred hand-counting. Elections Canada paid nearly $757,000 for the research carried out by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Incorporated.