Your Step-By-Step Guide to Voting (and Why It’s Cool)

You've probably heard about it on the news, on Twitter or through friends - it's time for another federal election. The idea of electing a new Prime Minister is pretty daunting and can feel super overwhelming, especially for those of us voting for the first time. But fear not! I'm here to walk you through the process of casting your vote, its importance, and how you're able to do it on campus.

  1. 1. How to register to vote

    The first step in casting your vote is registering to vote. The easiest way to do this is through the Elections Canada website. Upon Googling “register to vote Canada,” it's the first link that pops up. 

    All you need to register is your driver's license or another piece of government-issued ID with your name, address, and photo. This could be a passport, health card, or your birth certificate.

    The actual process of registering to vote takes a maximum of five minutes. That's it! Once you've officially registered, you'll receive a "voter information card" in the mail outlining the details, such as when and where to vote. Bring this with you to vote and you're all set.

    If you forget to register online, that's okay too. You can register on election day at your polling station (the location you arrive at based on where you live) with two pieces of ID, both with your name on them and at least one with your address (ex. credit/debit card, utility bill, student ID card.

  2. 2. How exactly DO you vote?

    Initially, the process of going to a polling station and casting a vote can seem confusing. The first time I voted was during a municipal election and I headed to the wrong polling station with my friends. It happens. However, the workers at the polling station are more than willing to guide you through the process. 

    The first step to voting is all about research. Do your own research on each party and where they stand on issues that are important to you. You should also consider familiarizing yourself with the names of the party representatives in your area, as the ballot will list their names instead of the party leader. For example, you are unlikely to see the names of the actual candidates like "Justin Trudeau" or "Andrew Scheer" listed on your ballot. Rather, it will be a local representative for your area acting on the party’s behalf.

    Next, locate where your polling station is. This can be found on your voter information card. If you do not happen to have one in possession, you can enter your postal code into the "Voter Information Service" section on the Elections Canada website. 

    Upon arrival at your polling destination, you will walk into a room with ballot tables where you privately cast your vote. Volunteers are seated at all tables, ready to check you in and there will be a specific people assigned to your section of the alphabet, based on your last name. Here they'll ask for your name, ID and your voter information card. Then they'll check off your name and hand you the documents necessary to vote, including two envelopes. The volunteers will explain the purpose of each paper and how to cast your vote accurately. Once you're behind the voting screen at the ballot table, you'll be asked to fill in a circle in pencil next to the name of the person you wish to vote for.

    Proceeding forward, you will seal the papers in the envelopes that your election worker handed you, sign the outer envelope and place it inside the ballot box. 

    That's it!

  3. 3. How to vote on campus

    "Ryerson Votes" is a campaign encouraging students to vote. There are polling stations situated all around campus, essentially accommodating to your class schedules and thereby making it easier to vote. During the municipal election, there was even a polling station at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. @RyersonVotes is an excellent and informative Instagram to check out if you have any questions about voting on campus.

  4. 4. Why you should vote  

    Voting is a right you have as a citizen of Canada. You get to make decisions about our country and the issues that will shape our future as Canadians. So go out there and vote. Who knows, maybe it'll be fun!

    Grab some friends and family and head over to your polling station. Cast your vote but don't forget to grab a voting selfie! Since you’re prohibited from taking photos inside the polling station, you can snap one once you leave. Post it all over your Instagram and urge your peers to come out and vote too. 

    You get to choose who your Prime Minister is and what the future of our country looks like and if you ask me, that's pretty cool.