2016 Prince Edward Island Plebiscite on Democratic Renewal.

Author:Alan, Paul

In this article, the author outlines some of the ways Prince Edward Islanders were able to participate in the 2016 plebiscite including electronic voting. The structure of the preferential ballot and how the ballots were tabulated are also discussed. Finally, the results of each round of voting are listed.


Eligible voters on Prince Edward Island were given a unique opportunity to vote on Democratic Renewal or as some people refer to as Electoral Reform. Legislation was passed in the PEI Legislative Assembly, allowing Elections PEI to register voters as young as 16 years of age on or by November 7, 2016 to vote in the plebiscite. This was an historic event as voters this young have never been counted before in a provincial vote anywhere in Canada.

Electors had their choice of three ways to cast their vote for Electoral Reform. The voting period was 10 days October 29 until November 7. In yet another first for Canada, Internet Voting and Telephone Voting were used on a provincial scale. Voters who preferred the traditional paper ballot method of voting were allotted two days within the voting period; November 4 and November 5.

To be eligible to vote, an elector had to be registered with Elections PEI, a Canadian Citizen and a resident of PEI from at least May 7, 2016. Once verified, each eligible voter received a Voter Information Card (VIC) either in the mail at their residence or they could opt to receive it via email.

Electronic Voting

Every VIC contained a Personal Identification Number (PIN) the voter needed to be able to vote online or by phone. Elections PEI used the services of Simply Voting for the electronic voting procedure. Whether a voter used the internet or the telephone, their confirmation of identity was their birthdates with matching PIN.

Paper Voting

Twenty-two polling stations were established across Prince Edward Island for the in-person paper ballot vote. An elector simply had to arrive at a polling station, produce identification with their VIC and in return would receive a paper ballot for voting on the plebiscite. One change in the polling station procedure allowed voters to vote at any of the 22 polls. They weren't tied to their own particular district poll which allowed for more convenience in the event people were travelling or voting away from their residential area.

The Ballot

A preferential voting system was used to rank the five electoral systems on the plebiscite ballot. Voters could rank as few or as many options...

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