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How to Vote in the Federal Election

The federal election is coming up this Monday, October 19th, and Her Campus Windsor wants you to be prepared! Heres everything you need to make an informed decision and to qualify to vote.

Step 1: Who do I want to vote for?

This is the toughest step, and one that we obviously cant dictate for you. But here are all the resources you need to make an informed decision.

The Conservative Party of Canada’s website. Their plan is outlined if you scroll down on their home page.The Liberal Party of Canada’s website. Click Explore the Platformon their homepage for their plan.The New Democratic Party of Canada’s website. Click Read Toms Planon their homepage for their plan. 

The Green Party of Canada’s website. Click the Platformtab on their homepage for their plan.The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada’s website. Click the program tab and select your language to view their plan.And, if youre voting in Quebec or by special ballot, you should check out the Bloc Quebecois’ website. Click Sauterto jump the sign-up page, then scroll down to Engagementsto view their plan. Google Chrome will translate the page for you if you need it.

You can also spoil your ballot or inform the election worker who hands you your ballot that you wish to decline to vote. You can read about the implications of that here.Dont forget to look up not only the leaders of each party, but also who the candidate is in your riding. 

You can also read election coverage on the Globe and Mail website (a typically left-leaning paper, though they have some more right-wing editorials like those by Margaret Wente) and on the National Post website (a typically right-leaning paper, though there is some more left-wing content). 


Step 2: Am I registered?

Checking whether you are registered to vote is pretty easy. At this point, if you are registered to vote, its likely that you received a voters registration card in the mail. If you did not, it might mean that you are not registered to vote. Either way, its good to air on the side of caution and check. You can visit this website to check if you are registered.If you are not registered, it is too late to register now. However, you can still vote on October 19th! Youll just need some extra ID, which well explain in Step 4. 

Step 3: Where do I vote? 

If you received your voters registration card in the mail, that card will tell you where your polling station is. If you dont have your card, use this website to find your polling station. You MUST vote at your designated polling station if you are voting on election day.If you are a student, you may be wondering if you have to vote at school or at home. Where you are registered to vote is the riding you should be voting in. If you are not registered, you just need to bring ID with your current address on it (either in your hometown or at your school address).In EST, polling stations will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

Step 4: What do I need to bring? 

There are lots of different scenarios and situations that require different types of ID in order to be able to vote. It can seem pretty confusing, but well lay it all out for you here. If youre still confused, you can give it a quick Google search, or you can call Election Canada and just ask (I personally did that for the last provincial election, and they were very nice and very helpful).

First, I usually bring my voters registration card just in case. They likely wont ask for it because it doesnt count as an official ID, but just in case something goes wrong (ex. they tell me Im at the wrong polling station), I like to bring it with me.Then there are a few different types of ID you can bring. You can use just one piece of ID if its your drivers license, your provincial or territorial ID card, or any other government card with your photo, name and current address (this address must match the address on your voters registration card). A health card and passport doesnt count here, though.You can also show two pieces of other types of ID that corroborate each other. For example, a health card and a Canadian passport would work here, or a First Nations status card and a birth certificate. If you live in a student residence, you can ask the residence administrator for a Letter of Confirmation of Residence that says you live there. There are lots of different combinations that will work here, and they are all listed on this website.

The last option is saved for if your ID does not have your current address on it. In this case, you have to show two pieces of ID with your name on it, and bring an elector who is registered at the same polling station as you to vouch for you (theyll have to take an oath).They accept expired ID, as long as the information on it is still current. For documents issued electronically (such as e-statements or e-invoices), they accept printouts, or you can show them on a mobile device.

Step 5: What happens when I go to the polling station?

Elections Canada (be sure to source your work when doing a more informative piece with other people’s work) created this graphic to explain what will happen when you go to vote on October 19th.


Step 6: Special circumstances

The Toronto Star has a great article with lots of questions about special circumstances and how you can still vote. For example:
Can I still vote if I’m a Muslim woman who covers my face? Answer: yes!
Can I still vote if I
m homeless? Answer: yes!
Can I still vote if I
m working during the hours that my polling station is open? Answer: yes!
Does it matter if the gender I identify with doesn’t match what’s on my ID? Answer: no! 
Can I eat my ballot? Answer: no!
Any other questions you have can likely be found in this article, or on the Elections Canada website

And there you have it! Remember that voting is a crucial part of a democratic society, and that its your responsibility to have your voice heard. Questions? Leave them in the comments, collegiettes! And happy voting!



Thumbnail: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/canadian-parliament-1447411

Maggie is a 5th year Political Science and Law Specialization student at the University of Windsor. Originally from from Kitchener, Ontario, she is a proud feminist, vegetarian, and Netflix addict. She aspires to figure out what it is she aspires to do. Follow her on Twitter (@MaggieParkhill) or on Instagram (maggieparkhill).
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