By Adam Griffith-Zahner
With the country’s focus being drawn to politics and elections, many Canadians are finding themselves in a difficult situation: they want to vote, but because they might be out of town on election day or they’ll simply not be able to make it to the polls so they won’t be able to vote.
Thanks to alternative ways to vote and special ballots, being out of town on election day doesn’t mean throwing your vote away.
Essentially, a special ballot allows a voter to submit a vote before the actual election date.
“A special ballot is another option for voters. A very flexible option. It’s really great for anyone who’s going to be away during the vote” says Susan Friend of Elections Canada.
“It allows you to vote now, if you so choose”
In order to submit a special ballot, you must complete the form “Application for Registration and Special Ballot”, which can be downloaded from www.elections.ca or picked up, mailed, or faxed from the local Elections Canada office. The finished application is also dropped off at the local Elections Canada office. If the ballot is mailed, the onus is on the voter to make sure the mail arrives at its destination by six p.m.
Even though a voter may be voting by special ballot, they must prove their identity just as if they were at the polls, which means proving their identity and where they live. This can be done in three different ways. The first would include the voter displaying one piece of identification that includes their name, photo, and address. If this isn’t available, then two pieces of identification must be provided, both with the voter’s name, and one of them having the voter’s address. If a voter finds themselves without any identification, the other option would include a second voter who is registered taking an ‘oath’ for the other. The registered voter would be volunteering their credibility, confirming the location and identity of the other voter.
Voters that find themselves unable to vote at the polls are able to vote by special ballot, but they aren’t strictly limited to that form of voting. Voters are able to cast their vote at advanced polls, which work in the same way as the normal polls. These polls are open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on April 22, April 23, and April 25. A voter must still be registered and provide identification.
Further information can be found at www.elections.ca