5 ways to make it easier to vote in Canada's federal election

Before Canadians vote in the federal election on Oct. 19, they have to register. While voters can always register to vote at the polling station, registering beforehand saves time. Here's how you do it.
A man casts his vote in the 2011 federal election. Elections Canada is urging Canadians to register to vote before election day on Oct. 19. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Canada's federal election is Oct. 19 — less than a month away. Elections Canada urges Canadians to register now because it makes the voting process faster and simpler: You only need to line up once on election day, rather than twice.

Here are five ways to make voting easier:

1. Go to the new e-registration page

"The majority of voters can e-register," said Marie-France Kenny, Elections Canada's regional media advisor for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Elections Canada's new online registration page tells Canadians instantly whether they are registered to vote. It asks for a name, birthday and address to determine a voter's status. For people who are not registered, the website provides the address and contact information for a local Elections Canada office, said Kenny.

2. Head down to Elections Canada in person

The old-fashioned way still works. If you are not registered, Elections Canada has offices across Canada where voters can sign up.

Voters must bring two pieces of identification: One government-issued ID, such as a passport or health card, and proof of address, said Kenny.

Elections Canada accepts many documents as proof of address, including correspondence from a university, a personal cheque, a Métis card, a credit card statement, a residential lease, a mortgage contract or a letter from a homeless shelter.

A driver's licence that includes a voter's current address and name is sufficient for both proof of address and ID, Kenny said.

3. Register by mail

Snail mail also works. Voters can contact their local Elections Canada office and request a mail-in form. They must fill it out and attach a photocopy of their identification.

Elections Canada said it must receive mail-in registration forms by 6 p.m. on Oct.13. Note, mail may be slower around voting day due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

4. If voters have no proof of address

If voters lack proof of address, they must bring two pieces of personal ID and a person who can vouch to their address to an Elections Canada office. This person must show proof of their own identity and address and be registered to vote in the same riding as the individual who lacks proof of address.

5. Remember: voters still need ID on election day

Even if you registered to vote, you must bring proof of address and government identification to the polling station on election day. This rule has been in effect since 2008, Kenny said.


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