Everything You Need To Know About Voting In Canada's Federal Election
Get in Canada, we're going voting.
Hey Canada. There's a federal election on October 19, and you're gonna vote in it. Only 61% of you voted in the last one, and that's not enough and it was pretty embarrassing. If there were an NHL ranking for voter turnout, we would suck more than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And I think we can all agree, as a nation, that we should be better than the Leafs.
It's 2015 and voting should be easy. But, thanks to the Fair Elections Act there are exciting new laws for how you can vote, when you can vote, and what you can use to prove you're allowed to vote. And I know this is going to shock the pants off you, but by some fantastic coincidence, the people most impacted by these laws—like students, the elderly, First Nations, new citizens and the urban poor—are the least likely to vote for the party who made these laws.
As Alanis Morissette would say...
Who Gets To Vote?
If you are:
- A Canadian citizen
- 18 years or over by October 19, 2015
- Who can prove your identity and address
Then you're one of more than 23 million Canadians who can vote in this election, if you bring the right ID.
OK, I can vote. What do I need to bring?
Voting requires a single piece of ID that has your full name on it PLUS your current address. If you don't have one of those, you need two pieces of ID, and one of them HAS TO HAVE your full name and the other HAS TO HAVE your current address on it.
Oh, and the voter registration card you get from Elections Canada with your address on it? That doesn't count anymore. It's one of the biggest changes this election, and it has the potential to confuse a lot of people.
Fortunately, there are more than 40 other types of ID you can use instead, like a Birth Certificate, Social Insurance Card, Status Card, fishing license, prescription pill bottle, utility bill, Canadian Forces ID card, blood donor card, personal cheque, vehicle registration, Band Membership card or a library card. Check out the full list at this link, or below:
But I'm a student/living in care/in the Canadian forces/living abroad/homeless! What do I do?
Don't sweat it. Elections Canada has you covered.
Are you a first-time voter or student? There's a special section of the Elections Canada website just for you.
If you're a student in residence, elder in long-term care or homeless person living in a shelter without a permanent address you can still vote, but it's a little more complicated.
You can get a signed letter from your facility administrator confirming you live or receive services there. That's the easiest way, since it allows you to plan ahead.
But even if you're reading this on October 18, and didn't get a letter (or you tried to get a letter but found out that your administrator forgot to register with Elections Canada ahead of time — because for some reason they have to do that) you're still OK.
Instead, you'll need to bring three things to the poll. 2 pieces of ID, and a registered voter friend living in the same polling district in your riding. That friend is going to swear an oath saying you also live in the riding and are OK to vote.
But don't think you can bring one friend for a whole group of people, because thanks to our gloriously fair new election rules, your friend can only vouch for one person - you. Other friends need to bring their own oathkeeper. That's the law, and it's stupid.
I have my ID ready. When can I vote?
Are you ready to have your mind blown?
You can vote RIGHT NOW.
Seriously. YOU CAN VOTE RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE (if said minute occurs between 9am-9pm Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm Saturdays and 12Noon-4pm Sundays ) at one of 400 Elections Canada offices across the country. Check here to find the closest one to you. FYI - Those offices will be open until 6pm, October 13.
ALSO! From October 5-8, Elections Canada is also opening up special offices at select campuses, Friendship Centres and community centres across Canada where you can vote in advance. Here's a list of all of them.
Advance Voting: October 9 - 12
Advance voting only happens on these 4 days! Check the Elections Canada website to find yours, or call them at 1-800-463-6868.
Election Day: October 19
This is it. Election Day. Polls are open from 8am - 8pm. And don't worry if you get off work at 7:30 and only get in line to vote at your polling place with two minutes to spare. They're legally obligated to let you vote as long as you're there before 8pm local time. Democracy!
Voting is your awesome, inalienable democratic right. It makes you smarter, healthier, more attractive and dramatically improves your sexual ability. Plus, most of the time, you get a sticker once you're done.