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In less than two weeks, Canadians can head to the polls to vote in the country’s 43rd federal election. But, if you want (or need) to get it done sooner—or you aren’t going to be in your home riding on election day—there are other ways you can cast your ballot.

Here’s a breakdown of all the different ways you can vote.

On election day

Vote at your assigned polling station on Monday, October 21st. Polls will be open for 12 hours, but hours vary by province.

How to vote at your polling station:

You must be registered to vote

If you’re not registered in advance (i.e. you didn’t receive a voter card), you can register at the polls.

You have to prove your identity and address. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Show one of these pieces of ID: Driver’s license and any other card issused by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with your photo, name and current address.
  2. If you don’t have ID from Option 1, show two pieces of ID. Both must have your name and at least one much have your current address. Examples: Voter information card and bank statement, or utility bill and student ID card. Don’t have these? No problem. There are numerous other accepted IDs you can show to prove your identity and address under Option 2, including health card, library card, student card, label on a prescription container, credit card statement, debit card, personal cheque, etc…The full list is available on the Elections Canada website.
  3. 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 to vouch for you. The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care institutions).

Advance polls

Because of the increase in popularity of advance polls, they’ll be open longer this year and 25 per cent more advance polls are being offered. Vote at your assigned polling station from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from Friday, October 11th to Monday, October 14th.

Special ballot at an Elections Canada office

There are more than 500 Elections Canada offices open across Canada. Vote at any one of them before Tuesday, October 15th at 6:00 p.m. Offices are open seven days a week. Voting at an Elections Canada office is different than voting on election day or advance polling days. Here, you will vote using the special ballot process (see below).

Mail

To vote by mail, apply online or at any Elections Canada office across Canada before Tuesday, October 15, 6:00 p.m. If you live abroad, you can also apply through any Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate. You will vote using the special ballot process (see below). Whether you apply online, by mail or fax, Elections Canada will mail you a special voting kit once we review and approve your application. This kit includes a special ballot, a blank white envelope, an envelope with your name, riding, and a space where you can sign, a return envelope, and voting instructions. Once the kit is mailed to you, the kit to you, your only way to vote in this federal election will be by mail. You won’t be allowed to vote in person. To count your vote, Elections Canada needs to receive your marked ballot by election day on Monday, October 21, 2019, 6:00 p.m. ET.

On campus

Vote on select campuses across Canada from Saturday, October 5th to Wednesday, October 9th, 2019. Anyone can vote at an office on campus. There are more than 115 campuses in Canada where you can register and vote in the federal election. All you need to do is bring ID to vote. You will vote for a candidate in the riding where your place of ordinary residence is located. When you vote on campus, you’ll be voting by special ballot (see below).

Special Ballot process

When you vote by special ballot, your ballot won’t have a list of candidates to choose from. Instead, there is a blank space for you to write the name of the candidate you’re voting for.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose a candidate running for election in your riding.
  • To find the names of confirmed candidates, check online or call. If you are voting in an Elections Canada office, ask an election worker for the complete list of confirmed candidates in your riding. If you live abroad, you can also ask any Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate for the list.
  • Once you have your special ballot, write the first and last name of your chosen candidate on the ballot. If you write only the name of a political party, your vote won’t be counted.
  • Place your completed special ballot in the unmarked envelope we provided and seal it. Then place the unmarked envelope into the envelope with your information on it, seal it, then sign and date the declaration on the outer envelope.
  • You may then drop your envelope in a ballot box or, if you’re voting by mail, follow the instructions you received with your voting kit and return your ballot to us using the pre-addressed return envelope we provided. Make sure to return your marked ballot to us by election day at 6:00 p.m., ET.
  • When it’s time to count the ballots, the election worker will remove all the unmarked inner envelopes from their signed outer envelopes. The election worker will then return only the unmarked inner envelopes to the ballot box and mix them up. This way, no envelope can be traced back to the voter; this ensures the secrecy of the vote.
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