Politics·ASK CBC NEWS

Key dates you need to remember for voting in the federal election

Election day is Monday, Sept. 20, but you have other options — from advance voting to mail-in ballots. If you opt for mail-in voting, within Canada or abroad, you have to apply by Sept. 14.

If you don't want to miss out a chance to vote, here are all the important deadlines

Voters enter a polling station in Toronto on the election day in October 2019. Elections Canada has provided many options for people to cast their ballots besides going to the polling place on Sept. 20, the election day of the 44th federal election. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

There are many options for voters to cast their ballots, but each comes with a deadline. Here they are, so you won't miss the opportunity to get your voice heard.

If you want to vote in-person, the election day of Sept. 20 is a possibility, but you may also choose to vote at an advance polling station between Sept. 10-13, or at an Elections Canada office from now through Sept. 14.

If you wish to vote by mail, you should apply for this process by Sept. 14, and have your vote delivered to the return address printed on your mail-in voting kit by Sept. 20.

Sept. 20: In-person voting on election day

For voters who wish to physically visit a local polling station and cast their ballots on the election day of Monday, Sept. 20, each polling station is open for 12 hours — but those hours vary by time zone: 

  • Newfoundland time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Atlantic time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Eastern time zone: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Central time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Mountain time zone: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Pacific time zone: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For ridings spanning more than one time zone, their returning officers have determined one local time for voting for the entire riding. Voters in the following ridings should pay special attention to the opening hours of their assigned polling stations:

  • Labrador: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. NT.
  • Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.
  • Kenora: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. CT.
  • Thunder Bay–Rainy River: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET.
  • Kootenay–Columbia: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT.
  • Nunavut: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET.

Elections Canada says the exact voting hours as well as the assigned polling station address will be printed on the voter information cards mailed to voters, and will soon be published on Elections Canada's voter information service portal.

  • Have an election question for CBC News? Email ask@cbc.ca. Your input helps inform our coverage.

Sept. 10-13: In-person voting on advance polling days

Advance voting could be done on any one of the following four dates from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time:

  • Friday, Sept. 10.
  • Saturday, Sept. 11.
  • Sunday, Sept. 12.
  • Monday, Sept. 13.

Those who opt for advance voting should go to the advance polling place that's specified on the voter information cards and Election Canada's voter information service portal.

Elections Canada notes that advance polling places will be fewer than election day voting stations. 

Sept. 14: Deadline of in-person voting at Elections Canada offices

Elections Canada has promised it will soon open more than 500 offices across the country for people who want to vote with a special ballot — which doesn't list the candidates for a particular riding, but instead allows the voters to write their selection's name in a blank space. 

If you want to vote at Elections Canada offices, you can drop into any one of them — even one located outside of your riding — to receive and cast the special ballot by Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. local time.

  • Find out who's ahead in the latest polls with our Poll Tracker.

Elections Canada offices will open seven days a week during the following hours in local time:

  • Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: noon to 4 p.m.
People who choose to vote at advance polls must visit the advance polling station assigned by Elections Canada, which can be found on your voting card or the Elections Canada website. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Sept. 14: Deadline for applying for mail-in voting

Whether in Canada or abroad, those who wish to vote by mail must apply online by Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. ET, or by contacting any local Elections Canada office by Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. local time.

If you will send out the marked ballot while you're within your own riding, it must be delivered to a local Elections Canada office — either by mail or in-person — by the time the polls close in that riding on Sept. 20.

You may also put your marked ballot into a box specifically for special ballots at your assigned polling station, or any other polling station in your home riding, on election day. If you wish, you could assign anyone to help drop off your sealed ballot — and that person won't be required to show ID.

If you're abroad or still in Canada but outside of your riding, the marked ballot must be delivered to Elections Canada in Ottawa by Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. ET.

  • Use Vote Compass to compare the party platforms with your views.

Elections Canada reminds voters to think twice before applying to vote by mail — once the mail-in special ballot application is approved, you won't be able to vote with a regular ballot at advance polls or on election day.

But the agency said that even if you have applied for a special ballot and haven't cast it, you may still be able to cast a regular ballot by swearing an oath and filling out a form of declaration that says you haven't previously voted in this election.


Do you have a question about the federal election? Send them to ask@cbc.ca or leave it in the comments. We're answering as many as we can leading up to election day.

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