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Canada election 2015: What you should know before marking your ballot
Canada election 2015: What you should know before marking your ballot

Canada election 2015: What you should know before marking your ballot

Elections Canada is making preparations to cope with what the agency expects will be a heavy voter turnout for Monday’s election.

When can I vote?

In Ontario, the hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Check the Elections Canada website for where and when to vote in other provinces.

Who can vote?

Are you a Canadian citizen? At least 18 years old on Oct. 19? Do you have the proper ID?

If you said “yes” to all three, congratulations. You are eligible and ready to cast a ballot.

What’s proper ID?

Bring along any government ID with your photo, name and current address, such as a driver’s licence, or two of the following: your health card, passport, birth certificate, or other document from a long list available on the website.

Expired ID works. Just be sure it has your current address on it.

Just moved and haven’t updated your ID yet? Bring in a bank statement, utility bill or lease with your name and new address on it.

Don’t have any of these things? You can show two pieces of ID and have someone you know take an oath and attest to your address. However, this person must show proof of identity and address, as well as being registered in the same riding.

Students can even bring in their student card and any school document with their address on it if living away from home. Even people without a fixed address can vote, using a Letter of Confirmation of Residence from a shelter or soup kitchen.

Most ID works. So don’t use that as an excuse.

And note: your voter card is not your ID.

What if I don’t know what riding I live in?

Not to worry. Elections Canada has a handy tool on the website so you can figure out your riding and the candidates.

Do I have to be registered to vote? Is it going to take a while? How do I register?

Yes. If not already registered, you can take care of this at your polling station before casting a ballot, which will take a few minutes. The deadline for registering online and by phone has expired.

What if I’m working while the polls are open?

The law’s got your back — everyone eligible to vote must be allowed three consecutive hours to cast a vote on election day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for that, your employer must give you time off.

Here’s Election Canada’s example, using the Ontario voting hours:

“If you live in a riding where voting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and you usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.”

It’s worth noting that your employer gets to decide when the time off will be given and that the rule may not apply if you work in the transportation industry.

I have accessibility concerns; will I be able to vote?

Absolutely! Elections Canada provides larger voting screens to accommodate wheelchairs, along with magnifiers for people with trouble seeing and tactile/Braille voting templates for people who are blind.


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