With Ontario provincial elections held the first Thursday of October every four years, here are the things you need to know to head out and vote in Ontario’s 40th general election. Elections Ontario’s site has done an excellent job of making the information easily accessible (view everything you need to know here) but we’ve pulled out some key points.
Who can vote?
You can vote if you’re over 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, live in an electoral district, and have not already voted in the election (advance polls).
What do you need to vote?
If you’re on the Voters List, a Notice of Registration Card should have come to you in the mail. In which case, you take that and one piece of government issued photo ID with your name on it (like your driver’s license) or two original pieces of authorized identification, both with your name and one with your address on it (like your SIN card and a government cheque).
If you are not on the Voters List and therefore didn’t receive a Notice of Registration Card, you can still go to the polls and vote. You just need to bring one piece of government issued photo ID that includes both your name and address (like your health card), or again two original pieces of authorized identification, both with your name and one with your address on it (like your passport and credit card statement). The Poll Official will give you a form to complete and sign, and you will then be added to the Voters List.
Where do you vote?
All published Notice of Registration Cards detail the name and address of local polling locations and their hours, but if you aren’t registered or just forgot, you can click here to easily find out your riding’s polling station.
Who to vote for?
Well, while we can’t really help you much there (everyone should research the candidates and policies and align with what best suits your personal interests), we can certainly guide you to the party platforms to help you make an informed, educated decision before putting pencil to paper at the polls.
Click here for a condensed comparison of party platforms with visually-stimulating word clouds.
Well, aside from it being ridiculously simple and important to address the issues that affect our community and society, something you may not already know is that most people get three hours off work to vote, so saying you’re too busy at the office isn’t an excuse.
Employees who are Canadian citizens and at least 18 years old are allowed three consecutive hours to vote on election day if their hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours outside of work to vote. Although the employer decides when, and there are other stipulations to the rule (like if you work outside of your polling division), this should be the cherry on top for you to get out there and make your voice heard. You can check out the federal polling labour laws in detail online.
And, don’t forget that in many countries citizens don’t have the right to elect their officials. Too often voting is taken for granted, and we need to recognize this civic duty as a large part of our democratic society. Also, if you don’t vote, don’t complain when you’re less than thrilled with your new (or incumbent) elected official.