Election day 101: Questions and answers about the voting process
TORONTO -- Canadians are set to head to the polls this Monday to elect the members of the 44th Parliament.
If you’re planning on voting on election day, you’ll have to make sure that you’re heading to the right polling station and bringing the necessary ID.
Here’s what you need to know before heading to your polling station.
HOW DO I FIND MY POLLING STATION?
Information about your polling station can be found on your voter information card. If you don’t have a voter information card, you can find this information on the Voter Information Service on Elections Canada’s website, along with the list of candidates running in your riding.
WHEN ARE POLLING STATIONS OPEN?
Polling stations are open for 12 hours. The opening and closing times are different across time zones in order to allow for results to arrive at around the same time across the country.
In the Atlantic provinces, polls open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m. local time. In the Eastern time zone, which encompasses nearly all of Quebec and Ontario as well as part of Nunavut, polls are open between 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
In Manitoba, as well as the parts of Nunavut and northwestern Ontario that are under Central time, polls are open between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. People living in Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and the parts of British Columbia under Mountain time can vote between 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. For Yukon and the rest of British Columbia, polling stations are open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The ridings of Labrador, Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Kenora, Thunder Bay–Rainy River, Kootenay–Columbia and Nunavut span multiple time zones. If you live in any of these ridings, please check your voter information card or the online Voter Information Service on Election Canada’s website to see what time your polling station opens and closes.
WHAT KIND OF ID DO I NEED TO BRING?
Elections Canada requires voters to prove their identity and address. You can bring your driver’s licence or any other government-issued card that contains your name, photo and address.
If you don’t have any photo ID that contains your address, you can bring any two pieces of ID as long as at least one of them contains your current address. Elections Canada’s website has a list of all the accepted forms of ID, which includes utility bills, bank statements, student cards, health cards, library cards and more.
Otherwise, you can still vote if someone who knows you and is assigned to the same polling station as you can vouch for you through a written solemn declaration. The voucher must have their own ID to prove their identity and address and can only vouch for one person, except in long-term care facilities.
AM I REGISTERED TO VOTE?
Most Canadians are automatically registered to vote through filing taxes. You can use Elections Canada’s Online Voter Registration Service to check if you’re registered.
If you’re not registered to vote, or if you need to update your address, you can register at your polling station on election day. To speed things up, you can use the Online Voter Registration Service to print out your registration certificate, but this step isn’t mandatory.
WHAT COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS ARE ELECTIONS CANADA TAKING?
In provinces and territories that have mask mandates, voters will be required to wear a mask unless they have a medical exemption.
Those that have a medical exception will not be required to provide proof, except at polling stations located in schools in Alberta that require proof of exemption.
If you forget to bring your own mask, there will be masks available at the polling station. If you refuse to wear a mask and don’t have a medical exemption, you’ll be refused entry into the polling station. This does not apply to Yukon and Nunavut, which do not require residents to wear masks indoors.
All poll workers will be wearing masks or face shields, and surfaces will be regularly wiped down. Polling stations will also have plexiglass barriers, single-use pencils, hand sanitizing stations and physical distancing.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 on election day, you should ask your local public health authority on what to do. If you test positive, Elections Canada says that you won’t be able to vote.
This story has been updated to remove an editor's note.