Kitchener-Waterloo

What Waterloo region voters need to know for this fall's municipal election

How voters cast a ballot in October's municipal election will depend on where they live in Waterloo region.

People can check now to see if they're on the voter's list

How voters cast a ballot in October's municipal election will depend on where they live in Waterloo region. (Curtis Hicks/CBC)

The municipal election is a month away and will be held on Monday, Oct. 24.

During the election, all people in Waterloo region will vote for municipal candidates in their city and township, including a mayor and councillor, as well as a school board trustee in one board and regional chair. 

People living in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo will also vote for a regional councillor.

MPAC also runs VoterLookup.ca where people can confirm they are on the list to vote or add their name.

Depending on where you live, there may be different rules about how to vote. Below we have information based on local municipalities:

The City of Kitchener notes peak voting times in the city are when voting locations first open and after 5 p.m., so people may want to consider voting at other times in the day or at an advance voting day. Bringing along the voter notification card and valid ID will speed up the time it takes to vote.

If you are in line to vote at 8 p.m. on Oct. 24, you will still be allowed to cast a ballot.

Cambridge

Cambridge is allowing people to vote online or in-person. 

Internet voting opens on Friday, Oct. 7 at midnight and closes Monday, Oct. 24 at 7:59 p.m.

There will be three advance polling days:

  • Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Forward Baptist Church, 55 Franklin Blvd.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11 and Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Preston Auditorium Arena, 1458 Hamilton St.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hespeler Arena, 640 Ellis Rd.

On Monday, Oct. 24, voting will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each ward has four locations and people can attend any of the locations within their ward to vote.

People can also go to city hall at 50 Dickson St., which is a fully accessible voting location and where accessible voting devices such as hand-held touchpads, paddles and "sip and puff" assistive technology will be available to help people cast their ballot.

People can also arrange for at-home voting on election day through the city.

Kitchener

Voting is in-person in Kitchener.

Advanced voting days are Wednesday, Oct. 12 to Saturday, Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. People can vote at any of these five locations:

  • Breithaupt Centre, 350 Margaret Ave.
  • Country Hills Community Centre, 100 Rittenhouse Rd.
  • Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre, 150 Pioneer Dr.
  • Forest Heights Community Centre, 1700 Queen's Blvd.
  • Stanley Park Community Centre, 505 Franklin St. N.

On Monday, Oct. 24, people can vote between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. at any of the locations within their ward. All sites are accessible and one location in each ward will have accessible vote tabulators on voting day. 

People who are experiencing homelessness can vote by using the address of a location where they most often have returned to sleep or eat in the last five weeks, such as a shelter or drop-in centre. In this case, people will be asked to fill out and sign an affidavit of residence.

North Dumfries

People in North Dumfries can vote via the internet or using traditional paper ballots.

Online voting opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11 and goes until 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24.

People can vote in-person at ward specific locations on three days:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In North Dumfries, Mayor Sue Foxton, and councillors Derrick Ostner (Ward 2), Alida Wilms (Ward 3) and Scott Tilley (Ward 4) have been acclaimed.

People in Ward 1 will still be required to vote for a councillor and all residents will vote for regional chair and school board trustees.

Waterloo

People can vote in-person at advance polls and on election day in Waterloo.

There are seven advance voting days:

  • Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waterloo City Centre.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waterloo City Centre.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waterloo City Centre.
  • Friday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waterloo City Centre and from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Albert McCormick Community Centre.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
  • Sunday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at RIM Park.

People will receive a voter information card with ward specific information on where they should go to vote. The city also has six locations where anyone in Waterloo can go to vote:

  • Waterloo City Centre.
  • Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
  • John M. Harper Library.
  • RIM Park.
  • University of Waterloo — Student Life Centre.
  • Wilfrid Laurier University — Concourse.

The city also offers specific tips to students about voting and notes anyone who is a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age and older or the resident, land owner or tenant in the city can vote in the election.

"Students are allowed to vote in two municipalities if you live in Waterloo for educational purposes and your home is in another Ontario municipality," the city's website says.

"Your home is the residence you regularly return to when not attending school. This could be a place you live independently or your family home. If you do not plan to return to the municipality where your home is when you finish your education, you can only vote in Waterloo."

Wellesley

People in Wellesley can vote by phone or internet starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 until 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24.

During that time, there will be a voter help centre at the township's administrative office, at 4639 Lobsinger Line in St. Clements. It will be open regular office hours Monday to Friday and will also have extended hours:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In order to vote, people will need to have handy their year of birth, voter ID and PIN. The township says this information will be included in a voter information letter expected to be mailed to people in early October.

In Wellesley, Mayor Joe Nowak, Ward 1 Coun. Shelley Wagner and Ward 2 candidate Lori Sebben have been acclaimed.

Voters in Ward 3 and Ward 4 will vote for a councillor. Everyone will vote for regional chair and school board trustees.

Wilmot

People can vote online, by phone and in-person in Wilmot, although an important thing to note in the township is there is no in-person voting on Monday, Oct. 24.

Telephone and online voting will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 and end at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24. 

In-person voting will take place over two weekends in all wards between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on:

  • Saturday, Oct. 15.
  • Sunday, Oct. 16.
  • Saturday, Oct. 22.
  • Sunday, Oct. 23.

The township says it made the decision to run the election this way to "ensure accessibility for all voters." The township notes telephone voting "is not compatible with rotary phones."

Woolwich

People in Woolwich will be able to vote by internet, telephone or in-person.

Internet and telephone voting will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 and go until 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24.

In-person voting will only take place on voting day, Monday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at three locations:

  • Woolwich Memorial Centre.
  • Breslau Community Centre.
  • St. Jacobs Fire Hall.

The township has also set up a voter help centre for people who have questions about how to vote online or by phone, to update or add their information on the voters' list or other election-related questions.

Other frequently asked questions

What do I bring with me to vote?

You should bring a voter information card if you received one. You will need valid identification, that must include your name and address. If you do not have ID, you can sign a legal declaration at the voting location to confirm you're eligible to vote.

Do I get time off work to vote?

Voting hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and employers must provide three consecutive hours off work to vote "if your scheduled work hours would not otherwise provide you this time," the City of Waterloo's website notes.

"Your employer may choose when they provide you this time. They may not deduct from your pay or impose any other penalty for taking this time to vote."

How do I choose which school board to vote for?

The North Dumfries website notes the school board trustee people vote for is automatically English public unless the tenant or owner of a property advises the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) otherwise.

Can I vote in every municipality where I own property?

The North Dumfrires website notes if you own property in the township but live in another municipality, you can vote as a non-resident in the local election. 

If you own property in the township and another area of the Region of Waterloo, then on the second ballot, you must abstain from voting for regional chair as well as in the school board election.

If you own two pieces of property, both of which are in a city or township, you can only vote in one ward councillor race and you will be registered to vote in the ward in which you reside.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Bueckert

Reporter/Editor

Kate has been covering issues in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: kate.bueckert@cbc.ca

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