Election day in Ontario, June 7, is nearly upon us. Soon all the door-knocking, sloganeering and political ad campaigns will come to an end and voters will get to decide which party will form the next government. But before that happens, you have to make sure you’re properly registered to vote—otherwise what was the point of all those Facebook and twitter feuds and dinner-table arguments with your family?—and that you know where to vote on election day.
Fortunately, Elections Ontario has made it simple to check if you’re correctly registered on the voters list, and if not, how to proceed.
Can I vote?
If you are 18 years of age or older, a Canadian citizen and a resident of Ontario, then the answer is yes.
Am I registered to vote?
On Elections Ontario, you can search by entering your name, date of birth and postal code, and then your address when prompted. If you’re found in the Elections Ontario database you can edit and update your information, or confirm your identity. Once you do that, be provided with voting options in your riding, such as the location of the polling station and how to vote in advance by mail or in person, as well as a list of the candidates.
If I’m not registered, how can I do that?
If you can’t find yourself in the Elections Ontario database, you will be prompted to register.
You’ll need to have several things at the ready:
- Your address and postal code
- Date of birth
- A valid Ontario driver’s licence, or an electronic copy of an alternate form of ID that shows your name and current residential address.
Follow the instructions to register as a voter.
What if I’ve moved recently?
Same as above, you can use the search tool to find yourself in the database using an older address. Then chose to edit or update your profile.
I’m registered. What now?
Vote in person, before election day, either by:
- Going to your returning office from May 10 until June 6 at 6 p.m.,
- At an advance voting location from May 26 to May 30,
- Through a special ballot, either in person, by mail, by home visit or through the hospital program
Or you can do what most people do and vote on election day at your voting location.
Where do I vote?
Between May 17 and 25, Elections Ontario is sending out Voter Information Cards to all registered voters, which contains information on when and where to vote. If you missed the information form, don’t worry. You can find out where to vote by using Elections Ontario’s Voter Information Service. Simply input your area code and you’ll be provided with the location of your polling station.
What do I do on voting day?
Head to your polling station and you’ll be presented with a personalized ballot by the election officials there. On the ballot, you will find a list of candidates in your riding and directed to a voting booth where you can mark the ballot.
To vote, mark an X in the circle next to your chosen candidate. Don’t worry if you make a mistake. Simply ask for another ballot and the election official will write ‘cancelled’ onto the back of the ballot.
What if I don’t want to vote for any of the candidates?
You can decline your ballot. Tell the election official that you are declining your right to vote. The ballot will be marked as “declined” and put into a special envelope, to be counted after the polls close as “declined ballots.” In the last provincial election in 2014 just under 30,000 votes—or 0.6 per cent of those who turned out to vote—were declined, a 1,200 per cent jump from the previous election.
Who do I vote for?
Well, we can’t tell you that. But if you want to know where the parties stand on the issues that matter to you, check out Maclean’s party platform guide.