Everything You Need to Know About How to Vote

Nikky Manfredi

Nikky Manfredi

Communications & Content Specialist

Election day is September 20. Do you have a voting plan? Let’s get you to the polls! 

What You Need to Know 

There can be a lot of mystique around voting. It’s right up there with filing taxes and figuring out how other people train for marathons – both of which, like most things, can seem intimidating and obscure until you break the process down into small steps. Voting is no different. Here’s a step-by-step guide sourced from Elections Canada on what you need to know. 

First and foremost, to vote, you must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years old on election day and prove your identity and address. Proving identity and address usually looks like showing ID at your voting station. There are a range of ID options you can use to vote. Take a look at them here

Did you know If you don’t have ID, you can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you? The voucher must prove their identity and address using option 1 or option 2. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care facilities).

Register to Vote

Before you can vote, you have to register! This might actually be the most mystified part of the process, but rest assured, it’s easy. In fact, if you didn’t register online, don’t worry! You can register when you go to vote at your polling station. 

Most Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered in the National Register of Electors. To check if you are registered or to register to vote, use the Online Voter Registration Service, visit your local Elections Canada office or call Elections Canada 1-800-463-6868. Have any more questions about registration? Here’s a handy FAQs list from Elections Canada. 

Make a Voting Plan with a Friend 

We’re in a pandemic. The election cycle is short. It’s summer. And while voting is a vital part of our democracy, it’s easy for the physical action to turn into an errand if the to-do list begins to pile up. That’s why it’s so important to make a voting plan. Text a friend who lives in your riding. Locate your assigned polling station. Set a time. Go together. Maybe celebrate your fundamental rights with a little ice cream after? It can be fun!  

And if you’re reading this on election day, it’s not too late! There’s still time to read up on the issues and make an informed vote. In fact, we wrote a roundup of roundups zooming in on some core issues. Not registered to vote yet? No problem! You can register when you go to vote at your polling station. And remember, by law, you can take time off work to vote (here’s how). It’s your right. Exercise it! 

Ways You Can Vote

You can vote on election day on Monday, September 20, or before by mail, at advance polls, or at any Election Canada office across Canada before September 14 at 4:00 p.m. Here’s Elections Canada with more on where you can vote: 

“You can vote at several places in person or by mail from wherever you are.

In person

  • In your riding at your assigned advance polling station on Friday, September 10; Saturday, September 11; Sunday, September 12; and Monday, September 13, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • In your riding at your assigned polling station on election day, Monday, September 2
  • At any Elections Canada office across Canada before Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m.

By mail

When you vote by mail, you use the special ballot process.

If you are part of a vulnerable population or know you will be away from your riding during advance and election day polls, you can vote by mail. Apply to vote by mail before Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. to get your voting kit.

It has never been easier to return your mail-in ballot. The mailing envelope is pre-addressed and return postage is free.

Make sure we receive your marked ballot by election day. Follow the instructions included in your voting kit.  Remember, your ballot is your responsibility. If you need help returning your ballot, seal your voting kit envelopes and choose someone you know and trust.

Remember: Once you have applied to vote by special ballot, you can’t change your mind and vote at advance polls or on election day.”

For more information on voting, including frequently asked questions, head to Elections Canada. Happy voting! 

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