What to expect when you’re electing: A voter's election guide

A voter’s guide to the 2015 federal election— when to vote, where to vote, how to vote

Chris Young/CP

Chris Young/CP

1. How to register

If you were mailed a burgundy slip from Elections Canada with your name on it, you’re automatically registered to vote. If you think it disappeared in the recycling bin, you will still be registered, but you should call or go to your local Elections Canada office to confirm. If you didn’t receive a slip, you can register by calling or going to the office with proof of your name and current address. Make sure to bring the correct proof.

2. Where to vote

Your local polling station is listed on your voter registration card, that white and burgundy slip from Elections Canada that came in your mail. If you didn’t get one, skip to tip number 5.

3. When to vote

To avoid the lines on Oct. 19, you can vote in the advanced polls between Oct. 9 and 12.  The operating hours of the advanced polls are stated on your voter registration card, or can be found at the Voter Information Service.

The operating hours on Oct. 19 vary by region:
Newfoundland, Atlantic, Central Time
(other than Saskatchewan): 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Eastern Time: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saskatchewan Time: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Mountain Time: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Pacific Time: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    4. Everyone’s special

    Any day before Oct. 19, anybody can vote through a special ballot. You can do this at your local Elections Canada office or by calling the office to arrange a mail-in ballot or home pick-up option. This will be necessary for people who are travelling during the election or have physical disabilities preventing them from going to their polling stations.

    5. What to bring

    You’ll need to prove your address and name. You can bring your driver’s licence or two of the following: health card, passport, debit card, credit card or a bank statement, one of which must state your current address. There are dozens of other acceptable pieces of I.D. For a full list, visit the Elections Canada website.

    Also, bring a friend to the polling station; voter turnout was a meagre 61 per cent in the last election.

    6. Whom to vote for

    Read about your local candidates on their websites or call their campaign offices to find out about chances to meet them. For a description of the parties’ overall platforms, read the Maclean’s election issues primers or transcripts of this year’s federal leaders’ debates, including  the Maclean’s debate, the Globe debate, the Munk debate, and the first French language debate.

    7. Results!

    Elections Canada will begin posting preliminary results on its website at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and will continue posting throughout the evening. Between Oct. 20 and 26, electoral officers will validate the ballots and post final results on the website as they become available.

    As for your lawn signs, you can return them to your candidate’s campaign office, or, in most cases, call the office to have them picked up.