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Research, projects, studies, and surveys

Modernization of voting in provincial elections


We are conducting research and analyses to speed up and simplify the process for electors casting their ballots in provincial elections.

In this section

The right to vote is based on principles that give it meaning: equality, accessibility, secrecy and freedom of the vote, and the integrity and transparency of the process in which it is exercised. We want to improve the voting experience for electors while respecting these founding principles. With this in mind, we have been looking over the past few years at a number of technological solutions that could help us organize elections and make the process easier for electors.

Call for expressions of interest

On February 29, we published a call for expressions of interest to gauge the capacity of the market to offer technological solutions that could support us in organizing elections and improving the voting process. Technological solutions would be introduced gradually through a pilot project at the next provincial general elections in 2026, and at a possible by-election between now and then.

This call for expressions of interest does not entail any commitment on our part. Its purpose is to gather information on the current state of the market, and to review and adjust our requirements for future calls for tenders.


We planned to modernize voting at the provincial electoral level as early as 2019. At the time, we wanted to broaden access to the computerized list of electors and we had considered automating the counting of the votes using an electronic ballot box (in French). However, the pandemic posed major logistical challenges in organizing elections, and thus we postponed trials for these technologies.

In October 2023, we launched a public consultation entitled Pour une nouvelle vision de la Loi électorale. We produced a discussion paper (PDF – in French) setting out various possible solutions to make voting more accessible and the organization of polls more efficient (in the first chapter). In it, we discussed the needs associated with modernizing the voting process.

Findings, needs, and technological solutions under consideration

Over many elections, we have made a number of observations and we think that certain needs could be met, in whole or in part, by introducing technology into the organization of elections.


  • Larger crowds on advance poll days
    Originally, advance polling was an exceptional measure to accommodate a limited number of electors. Over time, advance polling has become more popular. However, during these voting days, there are fewer polling places and fewer staff members than on election day. As a result, waiting times for electors in advance polls are often longer.
  • Lack of flexibility in managing crowds at polling places
    On advance poll days and on election day, electors must vote at the polling station assigned to them. The names of electors assigned to each polling station are recorded on a printed list that the staff uses (an excerpt from the list of electors). This procedure creates uneven waiting lines. We cannot direct electors to the first free polling station.
  • Difficulty recruiting election officers
    Like many employers, we are faced with a labour shortage. For the 2022 provincial elections, recruiting election officers was a major challenge in many electoral divisions. The labour shortage at polling places has an impact on the electors’ voting experience. Although the Election Act has been amended to allow young people aged 16 and over to work as election officers, and although the position of officer in charge of the list of electors has been abolished, filling 76,000 positions remains a challenge every election.

Introducing technological solutions would simplify the process for electors on voting days. It could also help us overcome the challenges of recruiting election officers and improving the efficiency of polling stations.

Needs and technological solutions under consideration

Access to the computerized list of electors

The electoral list is computerized and is already used for on-campus voting as well as for voting at the office of the returning officer. We also want to use the computerized list of electors at advance polls and on election day, rather than printed excerpts from the list of electors. This technological change would have many benefits.

  1. Speed up the process for electors
    Electors would be identified more quickly: in fact, searches are more efficient on an electronic medium than on a printed list. We could reduce the number of election officers performing this task by assigning just one person to it.
    Electors would also no longer need to vote at their assigned polling station. They would be able to vote at the first available polling station, which would make the voting process faster and more fluid.
  2. Correct the list of electors in real time
    During advance polling days and on election day, electors could enter or change their entry on the list of electors at their polling place.
  3. Mark votes in real time
    We could mark the computerized list of electors as electors arrive at their polling place to vote. We could then track the changes in the vote in real time.

Automate the counting of the votes

Election officers count votes manually after the polling stations have closed. By automating this operation with an electronic ballot box (in French), for example, we could speed up the process of counting the ballot papers. This would reduce the number of people assigned to this task. The results provided by an electronic ballot box can always be validated by a manual vote count.

Elsewhere in Canada

Most other provinces in Canada already use technological solutions for their elections. Québec is lagging behind in this area.

  • Seven provinces use computerized voters lists at advance polls or on election day. This technology allows electors to wait in a single line and vote at the first polling station available.
  • Québec is the only province where electors cannot enter or change their entry on the list of electors at polling places during advance polls and on election day.
  • Six provinces already use electronic ballot boxes to count votes.

We have researched and analyzed the technologies used in other provinces. We also visited some electoral administrations to learn more about their processes. We have seen technological solutions that work well and could speed up and simplify the process for electors. The experiences of other electoral administrations and their success factors will guide us in our voting modernization process.

Project stages and criteria

Throughout the process, we will ensure that technical solutions:

  • guarantee the secrecy and integrity of votes cast and the confidentiality of elector information,
  • ensure the transparency of all voting components,
  • allow ballot papers to be recounted manually,
  • save results by polling subdivision.

Steps of the project

  • Call for expressions of interest: February 29 to March 29, 2024
  • Analysis of responses to the call for expressions of interest: spring 2024
  • Presentation of solutions by suppliers (conditional on responses to the call for expressions of interest): spring and summer 2024
  • Calls for tenders: 2025
The Charter of the French language and its regulations govern the consultation of English-language content.

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