Everything You Need To Know Before You Vote For The First Time
This fall marks another federal election for all Canadians. For anyone participating in our democratic process for the first time, entering a polling station can be exciting. In order to ensure your trip to the polling station is smooth and problem-free, you should know a few key points. In partnership with Elections Canada, here are some important things to know if you’re a first-time voter.
The first step in the voting process is registering. Elections Canada’s online service lets you check or update your voting information. If you’re not already on the list you can register online with a driver’s licence or provincial or territorial identification card. Other pieces of ID can also be used. Check them out here. And don’t forget - if you turn 18 before election day, you can register now to be ready to vote.
If you’re away on election day
If you’re out of your riding or even out of Canada on election day you can still have your say. As a Canadian citizen you have other options.
Those who will not be in their riding on election day can vote at their assigned polling station on an advance polling day. These polling stations will be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the week prior to election day. You can also vote by mail or at any of the 500 Elections Canada offices across the country (deadlines apply).
Voting on campus
It’s possible to cast your vote on select campuses too. According to Elections Canada, the 2015 federal election saw over 70 offices opened at nearly 40 university and college campuses. This fall, over 110 offices will be open on campuses for voting for five days about two weeks before election day. Once the election is called, go to elections.ca to see if there’s a campus location near you.
All electors must prove their identity and address before voting. There is a wide array of accepted identification pieces, including a driver’s licence or any other card issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with your photo, name and current address.
But if you don’t have that, don’t despair! Two pieces such as a bank statement, credit card, utility bill, provincial health card, library card or student identification card are just some of the many documents enabling you to exercise your democratic right. You can even use your voter information card, along with another piece of ID. Even if any of the aforementioned cards have expired they are still valid provided the name and address is identical to the voters list. For information you receive electronically (such as e-statements or e-invoices), printouts are accepted or you may show them on a mobile device.
Polling stations hours & accessibility
While there are slight variations on the hours for voting across the country, all stations are open 12 hours. You can find out the hours for your province online or by checking your voter information card. There are many tools and services available on election day, such as the list of candidates in braille, language and sign language interpretation (upon request in advance), and Elections Canada goes to great lengths to ensure polling locations meet its accessibility criteria. Check out the complete list of services available. Poll workers will also be on hand at polling stations to help with opening doors, walking you to the voting station, and answering any questions you may have about the voting process.
Federal elections also offer a chance to become part of the democratic process in another capacity. Various employment opportunities are available across the country for advance polling days or election day. Information on these jobs is available on the Elections Canada site.
Find the official information you need to register and vote at Elections Canada.