British Columbia

Canada election 2015: What you need to vote on Oct. 19

Know your rights, because elections officials may ask for wrong ID, says B.C. Civil Liberties Association

Know your rights, because elections officials may ask for wrong ID, says B.C. Civil Liberties Association

A woman enters an advanced polling station in Montreal in 2011. Advance polls for this federal election are closed, and voting day is Oct. 19, 2015. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

When you go to your local polling station on Oct. 19 to vote in the federal election, you need to know when and where to show up.

But you also may need to know your rights and be armed with a knowledge of the new federal election law, according to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

A lot has changed since the last federal election — including the identification voters need to show to cast a ballot — so here is your guide for voting day.

What to bring:

You need to prove your identity and address to vote in person, according to Elections Canada. It recommends you bring your voter identification card to avoid delays, but the card isn't required.

  • One piece of ID is enough if it's your driver's licence, provincial or territorial ID, or any other government card printed with your name, photo and current address.
  • Two pieces of other ID — including a passport, library card, or credit card statement — can be used together, as long as one has your current address. 
  • List of acceptable ID from Elections Canada

The voter information card that comes in the mail is not enough — an important change under the Conservatives' Fair Elections Act. Last election, approximately 400,000 Canadians used their VICs to vote.

Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, worries misinformation at the polling station may stop some from voting. (CBC)

Those requirements — though contentious — may seem clear, but some voters have complained they're being asked for more identification than required, including Josh Paterson, the executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

I have great concerns.... I was being asked for additional identification beyond what was legally required.- Josh Paterson, B.C. Civil Liberties Association

When voting at an advance poll in Vancouver last weekend, Paterson provided his driver's licence, but was twice told he needed other documents.

"I was being asked for additional identification beyond what was legally required. I objected to having to do that."

His objection prompted a supervisor to intervene, who confirmed that a driver's licence is enough.

"I have great concerns about this," said Patterson, a lawyer. "You shouldn't have to be in a position where it's up to you to know the requirements better than staffers in order to have access to your vote."

Where to go:

If you're registered to vote, you should have received a voter identification card in the mail that will show the polling station where you're supposed to vote.

If you lost it or left it at home, you can also look up the information online, by entering your postal code here.

When to vote:

Polls are open for 12 hours everywhere in the country, but those hours are staggered so that results will come in at roughly the same time, according to Elections Canada.

For example, when Toronto polls close, Vancouver will only have a half hour left to vote — leaving little time for eastern results to influence western voters.

  • Pacific Time: 7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
  • Mountain Time: 7:30 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.
  • Central Time: 8:30 a.m. — 8:30 p.m.
  • Eastern Time: 9:30 a.m. — 9:30 p.m.
  • Atlantic Time: 8:30 a.m. — 8:30 p.m.
  • Newfoundland Time: 8:30 a.m. — 8:30 p.m.

CBC News will carry election results live in special coverage starting at 3:30 p.m. PT, on CBC TV, radio and streaming live at


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