As you might be aware, the federal election in Canada is coming up. Once you've figured out who you want to vote for, you'll likely have a few questions about how to vote.
Whether you've just turned 18, recently became a Canadian citizen, or just haven't hit the polls before, this election is your chance to have a say in the future of our country. “It's Our Vote,” after all! Thing is, to some first-time voters, understanding how to cast a ballot might seem a little daunting.
Here's everything you need to know before you vote in the federal election this fall.
Register To Vote
Being registered will save you time at the polls. Visit elections.ca/register and verify if you're registered. If your address is out of date, you can correct it right then and there. If your name or date of birth are incorrect, contact Elections Canada (1-800-463-6868). If you're not registered, you can easily do it online! All you'll need is your driver’s licence or provincial or territorial ID card. If you don't have either of these, don't worry. Elections Canada accepts many other pieces of ID too. The complete list is available here.
Ways To Vote and Eligibility
Once the federal election is called, you can vote almost any time before election day. To vote, you must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on election day, and prove your identity and address. Here's when you can cast your ballot:
- Vote on election day: Your assigned polling station in your riding will be open for 12 hours (hours vary by province).
- Vote on advance polling days: Your assigned polling station in your riding will be open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the week before election day.
- Vote at any Elections Canada office: Over 500 Elections Canada offices will be open across Canada, and you can vote at any one of them using the special ballot process. You can vote this way as soon as the election is called until 6:00 PM on the Tuesday before election day.
- Vote on select campuses: Elections Canada offices will be open for five days on select campuses about two weeks before election day. Once the election is called, check to see if there’s a campus location near you to vote using the special ballot process.
- Vote by mail: If you live in Canada but may be away from your riding or too busy during the election, you can apply to vote by mail online or at any Elections Canada office across Canada after the election is called, but before 6:00 PM on the Tuesday prior to election day. If you live abroad, be prepared – register now and Elections Canada will send you a special ballot voting kit after the election is called. Deadlines apply.
More information can be found here.
Where To Vote
After the election is called, you can find out where your assigned polling station is located on election day and advance polling days by entering your postal code into the online Voter Information Service, checking your voter information card that will arrive in the mail, or calling Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868. You can also vote at any Elections Canada office across Canada until the Tuesday before election day before 6:00 PM, or on select campuses about two weeks prior.
What To Expect When You Go To Vote
When you arrive at your polling station, a poll worker will greet you and show you to the right table. The poll workers at the table will ask you to prove your identity and address, so make sure you bring accepted ID. Once you've shown your ID, your name will be crossed off the list of electors and you'll receive a folded ballot. You will go behind the voting screen, mark your ballot, and refold it to keep it secret. Once you're done, you will return your ballot to the poll worker, who will remove the tab so your ballot can’t be traced back to you. The poll worker will return the ballot to you and you will put it in the ballot box.
If you have any questions, poll workers are there to help make your voting experience easier, just ask!