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Canadians don’t have to wait until election day or advance polls to vote in the federal election. If you’re away from your home riding during the campaign and don’t want to vote by mail, you can cast a special ballot at any Elections Canada office. But there’s a deadline to do so.
How do I vote at an Elections Canada office?
There are more than 500 Elections Canada offices across the country and you can walk into any one of them before Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. local time to vote using the special ballot process.
This office doesn’t have to be in your home riding.
So, if you’re in a different province or territory, you can still vote at your nearest Elections Canada office. You can find the closest one by entering your postal code here.
If you applied to vote by mail from outside your riding and were sent a special ballot voting kit, you also have the option to drop off your completed ballot at any Elections Canada office. But you should consider the time it will take to get from that office to Elections Canada in Ottawa. The deadline for it to arrive in Ottawa is 6 p.m. ET on Sept. 20.
If you applied to vote by mail from inside your riding, the return address will be your local Elections Canada office. You can drop off your completed ballot at any office, but you’ll need to make sure it gets to your local one by the time polls close on election day.
How does the special ballot process work?
Your special ballot won’t have a list of candidates to choose from. Instead, there will be a blank space for you to write the name of the candidate you’re voting for.
If you have questions, you can ask an election worker for the current list of confirmed candidates in your riding. You can also find the most recent list of confirmed candidates online using Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service.
Your special ballot won’t have a list of candidates to choose from. Instead, there will be a blank space for you to write the name of the candidate you’re voting for. (Paul Hantiuk/CBC)
You’ll need to write the first and last name of your chosen candidate on your special ballot. You don’t have to write the name of the political party.
If you write only the name of a political party, your vote won’t be counted.
Use Vote Compass to compare the party platforms with your views. Find out who’s ahead in the latest polls with our Poll Tracker.
Once that’s complete, you’ll place your completed special ballot in the unmarked envelope provided and seal it. You will place that unmarked envelope into the envelope with your information on it, seal it, then sign and date the declaration on the outer envelope.
A look at special ballot materials. (Paul Hantiuk/CBC)
The final step: dropping your envelope into a ballot box.
What do I need to bring?
If you have a driver’s licence with your current address on it, or another piece of government-issued ID with your photo and address on it, that’s all you’ll need to vote.
But if you don’t, you’ll need to bring two pieces of identification. Here are the forms of identification you can use.
If you don’t have any ID, you can take an oath and declare your identity and address in writing, but someone needs to vouch for you. That person must be able to prove their own identity and address and be a registered voter at the same polling station as you.
Do you have a question about the federal election? Send it to [email protected] or leave it in the comments. We’re answering as many as we can leading up to election day. You can read our answers to other election-related questions here.