Federal election voting: What you need to know

Look for your Voter Information Card for a variety of essential information

With the federal election less than two weeks away, those registered to vote should by now have received their Voter Information Cards in the mail.

“Those are personalized cards that provide you very important information,” said Dorothy Sitek with Elections Canada.

Among the information provided on the cards are the name of your riding as well as your polling location.

“Unlike in the provincial elections, where you can go to any poll to vote, for the federal election you must go to the poll assigned to your address,” Sitek said.

The polling locations for the advanced polls – Oct. 9 to 12 from noon to 8 p.m. – can be different than the ones used on election day – Oct. 19 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone who has not yet received a Voter Information Card is advised to contact their local Elections Canada office, call the toll-free national number 1-800-463-6868 or visit the website elections.ca.

“If you think you’re not registered or your address might not have been updated … there is an online registration tool on the Elections Canada website,” Sitek said. “Fill in the required fields and it will confirm for you whether you are registered or not.”

The Elections Canada offices in all 42 B.C. ridings are now open seven days a week. Sitek said voters can go to any Elections Canada office to register or get information if it’s easier to access an office outside your home riding. Residents can also vote at Elections Canada offices, or by mail, up until Oct. 13. They must apply online to vote by mail and provide the necessary identification to vote at an Elections Canada office.

The identification needed when you head to the polls has also changed since the last election.

Sitek says 86 per cent of Canadians vote using their driver’s licence as identification, and that will still allow you to mark your ballot this election.

“If you have a government-issued ID that has your photo on it, your name and current address, you’re good to go,” she said. “You just need that one piece.”

If you don’t have a driver’s licence or government-issued ID, you will need two pieces of identification, both with your name on them and at least one with your current address.

The elections.ca website has the full list of approved pieces of identification, which include bank statements, utility bills, social insurance card, library or transit card, even the label from a prescription bottle.

With about 80 per cent of Canadians voting on election day, chances are there will be lineups at the polls. Sitek said bringing your Voter Information Cards can streamline the process.

“The reason I suggest people bring their VIC with them to the polling station is that you can be fast-tracked,” she said. “It just makes things faster for you and the election worker.”

And you can still register to vote at the polls on Oct. 19. You will just need to bring the required identification. If you don’t have anything with your current address on it, Sitek said you’ll need to bring someone who is registered to vote in the same polling district as you and can attest to where you live.

 

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