Kitchener-Waterloo

Ready, set, vote: Tips for making the voting process go smoothly

Monday is the federal election and that means people across Waterloo region will be hitting up local polling stations to cast their ballots. Here are some tips to help make that process go a little smoother.

Grab your voter information card, ID and prepare to wait a bit to vote, Elections Canada says

Polls will be open in Waterloo region from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday for election day. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

Monday is the federal election and that means if you didn't vote in the advanced polls or at a returning office, it's time to cast your ballot.

Polling stations will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. People in line at 9:30 p.m. will still be able to vote, but it's a good idea to not leave voting to the last minute says Réjean Grenier, a spokesperson for Elections Canada in Ontario.

"There were some lineups at the advanced polls — not a lot," Grenier said.

"There's still 80 per cent of the voters to vote. So it would mean that there might be some line ups."

Use your voter information card

When going to a polling station, grab your voter information card that came in the mail to help you figure out which station to go to. It will help staff at the station direct you to the right spot to vote.

If you did not receive a voter information card, you can look up your voting location on the Elections Canada website using your postal code and even print a registration certificate to take with you to make the process go a bit more smoothly.

If you don't have internet access, you can call 1-800-463-6868 although you may be placed on hold. You could also contact the local candidate who you're thinking about voting for — they may also be able to help you by looking up information for you. Some candidates also offer rides to polling stations. 

If you forget your voter information card, that's OK too. You don't need it, but it will help you skip a step at the polling station.

If you got a voter information card in the mail, it's a good idea to take it along to your voting location to make the process go more smoothly. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Bring ID

If you have a driver's licence with your current address on it, or another piece of government-issued ID with your photo and address on it, that's all you'll need to vote.

But if you don't, you'll need to bring two pieces of identification. Grenier says that could include a health card or drivers licence and a document such as a hydro bill or phone bill with your address on it.

If you are homeless, you can vote with a letter of confirmation from a soup kitchen or shelter along with a piece of ID.

No pictures, please

You may have seen celebrities posing with their ballots to vote in the U.S., or there was the case of a Windsor candidate who tweeted a photo of her marked ballot when she went to an advanced poll.

"A marked ballot cannot be photographed anywhere. It is against the law," Grenier said. 

In fact, pictures can't be taken inside a polling station at all. Sometimes, journalists will take photos from the door, but they're not allowed to photograph anyone behind the screen as they mark their ballot, Grenier said.

Bring the kids

Grenier says parents are welcome to bring their children, and the children can come with them behind the screen if necessary.

"At Elections Canada, we'd like to recommend that because it shows your children about civic duty — the civic duty of voting and showing them how it's done," he said.

"Show them what their civic duty is going to be when they become a little older."

How do I watch the results?

CBC News will carry election results live in special coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. ET, on CBC TV and streaming live at CBCNews.ca.

CBC Radio's election special starts at 7 p.m.

There will be full digital coverage on cbc.ca/kw as the results come in.

Elections Canada says it's a great idea to bring children with you to vote so they can see what they'll be doing in a few years. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

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