Federal Election
Monday, October 21

Special ballot process – Incarcerated electors

Canadians who will be 18 years of age or older on polling day and who are in a correctional institution or a federal penitentiary in Canada may vote by special ballot in an election or referendum. A staff member in each institution is appointed liaison officer and facilitates the process of registering and voting. The liaison officer answers questions about the manner of voting and helps the electors to register.

Definition of address of ordinary residence

For electoral purposes, the incarcerated elector's place of ordinary residence is not the institution in which he or she is serving a sentence. It is the first of the following places for which the elector knows the civic and mailing addresses:

  1. his or her residence before being incarcerated; or
  2. the residence of the spouse, the common-law partner, a relative or dependant of the elector, a relative of his or her spouse or common-law partner or a person with whom the elector would live if not incarcerated; or
  3. the place of his or her arrest; or
  4. the last court where the elector was convicted and sentenced.


The incarcerated elector must fill out an Application for Registration and Special Ballot form, which is available from the liaison officer once an election or referendum has been called. The elector returns the completed application form to the liaison officer, who validates it.

Manner of voting

Incarcerated electors will vote in their institutions on October 9. A polling station will be set up at 9:00 a.m. to gather the votes and remains open until all those who wish to vote have done so, but no later than 8:00 p.m. Each polling station has the complete list of candidates.

To vote, the elector must first complete and sign the declaration on the outer envelope that forms part of the voting kit. The declaration states that the elector's name is as shown on the envelope, and that he or she has not already voted and will not attempt to vote again in the current electoral event. In the case of an election, the elector then completes the ballot by writing on it the name of one of the candidates in his or her electoral district or, in the case of a referendum, by checking either "yes" or "no". The elector inserts the ballot into the series of envelopes in accordance with the instructions provided.