After a whirlwind 5 week campaign, Canadians are set to go to the polls for the 41st Election on Monday, May 2. Here’s the nitty gritty about where, when, and why to vote.
In order to vote on May 2, you need to head to a polling station, and you need to be registered to vote in Canada. If you aren’t registered or aren’t sure, don’t worry: you can register just before you vote. You will need to prove that you’re a Canadian citizen over 18 years of age or older as of May 2, and you will need proof of identification and address. If you have already received a Voter Information Card, then you are registered to vote. You can simply follow the instructions on where to vote that were provided to you on that card.
Not sure what riding you’re in? You can check here for Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service and search by your postal code, candidates, province, maps, keywords or address. This tool tells you where your polling stations are located, who your candidates are, whether the polling station is accessible and the hours the polling station is open. It also provides a profile for your riding, information on the returning officer and results for your riding from previous elections.
Not sure when you’ll vote? By law, Canadian electors must have three consecutive hours available on Election Day to vote. If hours of work do not provide for three consecutive hours, your employer is obliged to work with you to make these hours available in order to vote.
Once the polls close, the ballots will be counted. Election results will be broadcast locally by an increasingly frenzied media as the polls close and vote counts are returned (although websites — and Twitter — may be muzzled until the last polls in the West are closed.)
Canada’s electoral system is based on the “First Past The Post” concept, meaning that the only vote you’ll cast tomorrow is for your local candidate. The candidate that gets the most votes will win the riding; the political party who wins the most ridings will be invited to form the next Canadian government. Given that the last three elections have resulted in minority governments, it is more important than ever that every single eligible voter casts a ballot. Here are the party platforms. If needed, you can find more information about your local candidates online.
Every single riding will make a difference in how this country will be governed after tomorrow.
And every single vote will make a difference in each riding.
I will vote. Will you? To find out more about the Canadian election, click here.
Photo credit: alancleaver_2000 on flickr