Elections 2015: Who Stands for What, Where to Go, How to Vote, & Other Quebec Curios

The classic question: Are you over 18 and a Canadian citizen?

Elections 2015: who will you vote for? Photo courtesy: Elections Canada/CBC Elections 2015: who will you vote for? Photo courtesy: Elections Canada/CBC

Who’s Running? More than the big five.

If you came here to find out who to vote for, you’re mistaken. Unlike some other people out there, we’re not here to tell you who to vote for. Smarten up and go to the Conservative Party website, the NDP Party website, the Liberal Party website, the Bloc Québécois website, the Green Party website, and the Strength in Democracy website to find out more about their platforms yourself. These parties are the six parties that were in Parliament at the time of its dissolution in the leadup to the election by the amount of seats they had. There were also eight independent members of Parliament who you can find out more about here. There are also a myriad of other political parties that you can vote for if they have a candidate in your riding: find out more about them here.

Vote Compass 2015. First question.

Vote Compass 2015. First question.

Find Out What Party Shares Your Stand on Different Issues with Vote Compass

Wanting to get a bit of a taste on where you stand? Use the Vote Compass here. The results may surprise you, and might urge you to rethink your political decision. While it’s not infallible, it’s a good place to start, challenge your ideas, and maybe pick up some new ones along the way. You’ll also be participating in a collaborative effort by a company named VoxPop Labs, along the lines of when university kids tried to stop you on the street to quiz you for their methodology project except it’s professional.

 

Where to Vote

Elections Canada Screenshot.

Elections Canada Screenshot.

For your electoral district, find out more about your district and who’s running by going here and entering your postal code. Some districts only have the three main parties running, although others have all five or even more. Note that a political party isn’t obliged to run a candidate in each riding.

Voter registration card. back side.

Voter registration card. back side.

 

Advance Voting

Can’t wait to vote? Want to get it over with and have your Thanksgiving turkey in peace (or pieces)? Due to a change in voting laws, you are now able to vote any time between now (indeed, before now) before election night. Visit any Elections Canada office (find yours here) before October 13; they are open seven days a week. There are also four advance voting days at specified poll stations given on your voter registration card on October 9-12. If you’re going to be outside of your electoral riding, you can apply to vote by mail here or fill out a form that you can get at your local Elections Canada office, or any Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commission. You can also wait a bit and vote on Advance Polling days, the location of which will be inscribed on a voting card that should come your way by the post soon.

elections canada voter card

elections canada voter card

Voting on Election Day October 19

If you can wait a while longer, you can also vote the day of. Polls will be open for twelve hours during October 19. The times and places where you can vote on election day will also be on the voting card. Depending on your education institution, if you’re a student, you might be able to vote on campus if you have school that day (check it here. CEGEP Vieux Montreal, College Ahuntsic, Dawson College, McGill University, the Native Friendship Centre, Concordia University, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, and Vanier College all have voting on campus).

When you’re voting at a place such as an Elections Canada office or even the day of, identification is important. It allows the poll scrutineers to be able to cross out your name and fill out the electoral sheet (no, they’re not playing bingo) to prove that you voted and that nobody else voted in your place. You’re good with one piece of identification if you can show your driver’s license or another such government-issued card; however, you might need to show two pieces of identification if you only have, for instance, an identification card that doesn’t have your address as a student identification card. In that case, you need two pieces of identification, show something that has your current address such as a utility bill. If you don’t have any identification that can attest to your residence, a person who lives in your electoral district can do that for you. Find out how to do this and more here. Please note your voter identification card is not a piece of identification.

Mark your Ballot to Count

unacceptable and acceptable vote marks

unacceptable and acceptable vote marks

As to how to vote, Elections Canada is strict on what mark you can draw to cast your vote (see for instance here). When you go in and prove your identification and address, the most senior polling station clerk will hand you a folded ballot in which you can cast your vote. Bring a pen or a pencil in case the ones provided in the voting booths have been accidentally on purpose taken. Be safe and mark an X or a check mark in the circle next to the name of the person you want to vote for; you’ll also be provided with more instructions when you vote if X’s or check marks aren’t your style. However, make sure this time to at least follow the rules for voting. If you have difficulty marking your ballot, you can have two poll clerks assist you or a friend (find out more about this option here). You can only vote for one person, or else you’re not voting at all. Return your ballot folded. The clerk will then rip off a tab and hand the ballot back to you so that you can put it in the box. And you’re done!

The Election Act

Defaced Election Poster for Projet Montreal

Defaced Election Poster for Projet Montreal

Elections are fraught with emotion, but keep it safe. There are laws regarding phone calls, election signs, and many other things (check it out here). Be courteous to the poll workers and they’ll be courteous to you. If you have any issues during election day, you can file a complaint here.

It’s very important to know that according to the Elections Act, employers must give three consecutive hours off from work without penalty in order for their employees to have a chance to vote. It is an offense not to do so, and employers can face fines and prison time—or both—for a disregard of this article of law. An exception is transport workers, who have a list of exceptions. Find out more about your employers’ legal obligation for time off from work here and read the legalese here.

To close, as one matter of opinion, voting selfies are so 1800s. Back then, you would have to get up on a box to announce who you were voting for. Take pride in that Canada still has a secret ballot.

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