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Citizen round table

Abridged version of the November 19, 2021 Citizen round table meeting minutes

Summary

November 19, 2021, marked the end of the members of the Citizen round table’s second term (2019-2021). A full meeting minutes report (PDF – in French) is available.

In this section

Word from the Chief Electoral Officer

During this meeting, the Chief Electoral Officer emphasized that Élections Québec wanted to build on the experience acquired by members over the past few years by asking them to:

  • Assess the Citizen round table for purposes of the next one.
  • Take a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of the institution.
  • Slip into the Chief Electoral Officer’s shoes and indicate their priorities for improving Québec’s election system.

The Chief Electoral Officer also introduced some legislative measures in electoral practice. He then invited members to share their federal and municipal general election voting experiences during the pandemic.

Voting during a pandemic

Many members reported that, despite the health measures in place, the voting experience during a pandemic was similar to the regular voting experience. They did, however, add a few caveats, such as the increased traffic at polling places and the absence of polling stations in educational institutions during federal elections.

Work assessment and evaluation of the Citizen round table

The Citizen round table coordinator summarized the Élections Québec follow-up on the 100 opinions formulated by the members from 2017 to 2021.

The members gave the Citizen round table a positive evaluation: they consider it to be a useful forum. They particularly appreciated the preparation guides and the variety of topics covered.

In anticipation of the next Citizen round table, members unanimously suggested that the number of annual meetings be increased from two to three.

Favourite meetings

Several members appreciated the meetings on political financing, a topic they thought was dry and complex. These meetings allowed them to learn more about this important aspect of the election system and to benefit from the exchange with an external specialist on political parties.

Having a look at Élections Québec

Members took a critical and constructive look at Élections Québec.

Strengths

On the one hand, members believe that the institution’s neutrality and the concrete actions it takes to improve access to voting are great strengths.

Weaknesses

On the other hand, they believe that the institution suffers from a lack of positive exposure between elections, has limited capacity to advance election processes, and lacks the agility to act quickly.

Areas for improvement

The members submitted several concrete possibilities for improvements to Élections Québec. For example, they want the institution to continue its educational efforts by taking a lead role in developing the content for a future course on democracy education in the school system and by increasing its presence in public dialogue.   

In the Chief Electoral Officer’s shoes

Each member was asked to put themselves in the Chief Electoral Officer’s shoes and establish priority projects to be carried out in the medium term. The members proposed a total of 10 projects. The majority endorsed three of them.

  1. Élections Québec 2.0: create a space for experimenting to facilitate innovation in election processes. This new space would first be used to test Internet voting to complete the study.
  2. Abolish polling subdivisions and computerize the process: improve the confidentiality of results by abolishing polling subdivisions. Computerizing the entire election process would allow electors to vote at any polling station, which would improve voting speed and overall experience.
  3. Democracy needs you!
    • Conduct studies on who does and does not vote in Québec. Identify these groups and find ways to encourage non-voters to vote.
    • Increase the political and voter turnout for 16-25-year-olds.
    • Create a course about citizenship that is open to everyone – a short virtual or in-person course, for people from all backgrounds.
    • Explore ways to make electors feel more connected to the people who represent them and more engaged in politics.

To read all the opinions, recommendations and reflections of members of the Citizen round table, refer to the full meeting minutes report (PDF – in French).

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