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My Voter's Guide

About the guide

This guide answers questions about the federal voting process and lets you know what to expect when you go to vote.

To order extra copies, other formats (such as Braille) or other languages, please call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 or TTY 1-800-361-8935.

What are elections all about?

When a federal election is called, you vote to elect a member of Parliament (MP) to represent you in the House of Commons, where they will debate and pass laws on your behalf.

Canada is divided into 338 ridings. During an election, one MP is elected to represent the people of that riding and sit in the House of Commons.

Candidates can represent a political party, or can be independent, meaning they have no association with a political party. After all the votes are counted for each riding, the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons usually forms the government. The leader of that party becomes the prime minister of Canada.

If an MP resigns, passes away or becomes ineligible to sit in the House of Commons, a by-election is held in the riding to replace them.

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Can I vote?

You can vote if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen
  • you are at least 18 years old on election day
  • you can prove your identity and address

For a by-election:

  • you also need to live in the riding from a specific date, usually about a month before election day
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Am I registered to vote?

Make sure you're registered

If you have moved, recently become a Canadian citizen, will be voting for the first time or are a student living away from home, you may not be correctly registered.

Check, update or complete your registration now. It's easy and will save you time when you go to vote.

Need help? Call us at 1-800-463-6868.

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Watch for your voter information card

When you're registered, you will get a voter information card in the mail soon after the election is called. It tells you when, where and ways to vote. The card looks like this.

Voter information card

Check your name and address on the card. If they are correct, you are registered to vote.

If there are errors, or if you don't receive a card, use the Online Voter Registration Service or call us to update your information.

The card also tells you:

  • the accessibility of your polling places
  • how to request language or sign language interpretation
  • how to request other assistance

What are the ways to vote?

Vote on election day

Your polling place will be open for 12 hours.

To find out when and where to vote once the election is called:

  • check your voter information card sent to you by mail
  • go to the Voter Information Service and type your postal code
  • call us at 1-800-463-6868

Vote on an advance voting day

Vote on one of four advance voting days.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday

Your advance polling place will be open from noon to 8:00 p.m.

To find your advance polling dates and location once the election is called:

  • check your voter information card sent to you by mail
  • go to the Voter Information Service and type your postal code
  • call us at 1-800-463-6868

Vote at an Elections Canada office

Once the election is called, go to any Elections Canada office across the country by 6:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before election day.

During a by-election, offices are only open in the riding where the by-election is being held.

To find an Elections Canada office near you, go to the Voter Information Service or call 1-800-463-6868.

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Vote by mail

If you're away from your riding during the election, or if it's more convenient, you can vote by mail.

Here's how:

Apply to receive a voting kit. You can get an application form here, at an Elections Canada office, Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate.

Important deadline: Your completed application, with a copy of your ID, must reach us by 6:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before election day.

Once we receive your application, we'll mail you a voting kit with everything you need to vote.

Don't wait! You need to allow enough time for your voting kit to reach you and for your marked ballot to reach Elections Canada by election day.

What ID should I take with me?

To vote, you need to prove your identity and address:

Show one piece of government-issued ID with your photo, name and address. For example, your driver's licence.

Id

OR

Show two pieces of ID. Both pieces must have your name, and one must also have your address. For example, your health card plus a utility bill. See the full list of ID here.

ID

OR

Take an oath. Show two pieces of ID with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of identity and address, and be registered in the same polling division. This person can attest for only one person.

We accept ID cards and documents issued in their original formats. For documents issued electronically (such as e-statements or e-invoices), we accept printouts or you may show them on a mobile device.

What happens when I vote at a polling place?

Once you’re registered, here's what you can expect when you go to vote at your polling place.

  1. When you enter the polling place, an election worker greets you and shows you to the right table.

  2. At your table, show your proof of identity and address.

  3. The election worker will initial, fold and hand you a ballot.

  4. Go behind the voting screen, mark and refold your ballot to keep it secret.

  5. Return your ballot to the worker so they can tear off the tab.

  6. Put your ballot in the box.

I am a student – how can I get ready to vote?

To vote, you must be registered. Check, update or complete your registration.

If you live in two places – one while at school, the other while away from school – choose which one you consider home and use that address to register. You vote for a candidate in the riding where your home address is located.

When you're registered, you'll get a voter information card in the mail soon after the election is called. It tells you when and where to vote.

Remember: If you're away from your riding, or if it's more convenient, you can vote by mail or at an Elections Canada office.

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What is available to make voting more accessible?

We provide many voting services and tools to meet the diverse needs of Canadians.

Here are the voting tools and services we offer:

  • Magnifiers
  • A tactile and Braille voting template that fits on top of a ballot
  • Large-print lists of candidates
  • Braille lists of candidates (available on election day)
  • Sign language interpretation (call us to request it)
  • Assistance in marking a ballot
  • Improved voting screens that let in more light
  • If you cannot leave home and would like to vote there, call us

Polling place accessibility

If you're registered to vote, you'll get a voter information card soon after the election is called. This card describes the accessibility of your polling places. You can also find this information in the Voter Information Service by entering your postal code or by calling 1-800-463-6868.

When you go to vote, either your polling place will have an automatic door opener or an election worker will be at the door to provide assistance. Please let this person know how they can help.

We also check the accessibility of polling places throughout voting days. If you have questions or comments about your polling place, please let us know and we'll look into it.

Check the full list of accessibility criteria we use when we select polling places.

How can I provide feedback to Elections Canada?

Let us know how we're doing. This helps us better serve you.

You can:

If you have feedback on accessibility, you can also:

Where can I get more information?

Call 1-800-463-6868

Contact us by TTY at 1-800-361-8935

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Elections Canada offers many resources about the electoral process, including:

  • information and promotional products
  • election simulation kits
  • educational resources

You can download many of these resources or call us to order copies.

Voter's checklist