How to Vote in Canada

To vote in elections in Canada, you have to make sure you are registered to vote. You can call Elections Canada to check if you are registered in the database of the National Register of Electors. This is a database with all Canadians who are allowed to vote in referendums and federal elections. The register is continuously updated by using information from various information sources, including provincial permanent voters lists, driver’s license records, citizenship applications, income tax forms, and other sources.

On the elections’ day, you have to prove your address and identity using one of three options. The first is to present a piece of identification with your name, photo, and address on it. This piece of identification must be original and issued by a government agency. The second option is to take an oath, with an elector (roommate, neighbor) who knows you vouching for you. This person should belong to your polling division and have an authorized piece of identification. A third option is to present two pieces of identification, both showing your name, and one of them having your address. Examples of accepted pieces of identification include driver’s license, and territorial/ provincial identification cards for the territories/ provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, etc. Examples of identity cards you can show include: your Canadian passport, social insurance number card, Driver's Licence, birth certificate, and others. You can also show documents with your address and name on them, including statement of government benefits such as child tax benefit or old age security. Letters from a public trustee and public curator are also accepted, as well as other pieces of identification. Electors who reside in long-term care facilities and senior residencies can present a copy of a piece of identification. This exception is made for them because they often transfer their IDs to members of family or the administrator. Note that to prove your address, it has to be written by the document’s issuer. A passport cannot be used to prove your address, because you fill in the address information by yourself.

Your voter information card shows the hours and address of your election day poll. You may vote on advanced polls if they are open or on the election day. There is also an option to vote by mail, and it can be used by voters who live in Canada or abroad. If you choose to vote by mail, you should download and fill in the Application for Registration and Special Ballot form. As an alternative, you can obtain a paper copy of the latter from a consulate, high commission, or Canadian embassy, as well as from any Elections Canada office. The application, along with proof of home address and identity should be submitted by postal mail, by fax, which is the quickest method, or in person, with you going to the nearest Elections Canada office. Once your application is accepted, you will receive a ballot voting kit. It will be send by regular mail. This kit contains instructions on marking your ballot and mailing in your vote. Note that if you choose to vote by mail, you cannot vote a second time, for example, at advance or ordinary polls. All electors can vote once, and they can vote for a candidate in their electoral district or riding.

Elections Canada has made efforts to make it easier for Inuit and Métis electors to vote on federal elections. The Chief Electoral Officer maintains contacts and consults regional and national Aboriginal organizations. The goal is to give electors of Aboriginal origin information on how to exercise the right to vote.

Canadians who are of legal age and presently in a federal penitentiary or a correctional institution can vote by a special ballet in a referendum or an election. Electors who are incarcerated have to fill in the Application for Registration and Special Ballot form, which can be obtained from a liaison officer.