You can text us during the election. Here's how it works

We're breaking down party platforms, what you need to know to vote and taking your election questions throughout the federal election campaign ⁠— all via text message.

Text ELECTION to 22222 to get started

We're breaking down party platforms, what you need to know to vote and taking your election questions throughout the federal campaign ⁠— all via text message. (Sködt McNalty/CBC)

We've got a new way to get you ready for the federal election, show you party platforms and answer your campaign questions — and it's all via text message.

We've launched a text-based service created for the election on Oct. 21.

It's an interactive way to wade through all sorts of election fundamentals — from what do I need to vote to where the parties lie on health care and Indigenous issues — and perhaps get you direct answers to some of the burning questions you have. 

Here's how it works. 

How do I get started? 

You can launch the conversation by texting ELECTION to 22222 (that's five 2s). You should see a message that looks like this: 

Your next step depends on what kind of election content you're eager for.

  • Reply VOTE to find out what you need to know to cast a ballot.
  • Reply NEWS to walk through spotting disinformation and misinformation during the campaign.
  • Reply ISSUE to wade through important parts of the party platforms — climate change, cost of living, health care, immigration, the economy and Indigenous issues.
  • Reply ASK at any time plus write an election question to send us what you're curious about.

It's not letting me text your number. Why?

Some older phone models may not recognize 22222 as a valid number you can text. Try adding our number as a contact and texting us that way.

The number also won't work if you are sending messages from WhatsApp or trying to text from another country. Sorry U.S. friends!

Will this cost me money?

It'll cost whatever your standard rates are for messaging with your mobile carrier. So check your texting plan! 

How do I ask you a question?  

You can text ASK plus your election question at any time during the conversation. We'll be rounding up some of the best questions we get for a weekly questions-and-answers column and responding to some of your questions directly via text.

Your text should look something like this:

  • ASK What kind of ID do I need to vote?

After you are done asking, you can text HOME if you want to get back to the other content.

What types of questions can I ask?

We're open to a wide range of questions. That said, it should be election-based. The more focused your question is, the better chance we'll get an answer to it. Feel free to ask anything about the voting process, election coverage, polling, campaigning or party positions on an issue and we'll try our best to get you an answer.

When/where will my question be answered?

Because of the volume of questions we're receiving, we won't be able to answer them all. However, we will be rounding up the best ones and featuring them in a weekly questions-and-answers column. It will be published on CBCNews.ca on Sundays and will also be sent out via text. 

Some of your questions will also get a direct response texted back to you — so keep an ear out for that buzz.

I'm stuck. How do I start over?

If, for whatever reason, you get stuck in the conversation and want to get back to where you started, just text HOME. It will take you back to the main menu, where you can get back to the other election content and start one of the conversations again.

Can I call you?

As much as we'd like to talk, this is a text service only. You can't call a number with just five digits!

How long are you doing this?

We'll be texting right up until the election. The project runs from Sunday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 20, so make sure you get your questions in before election day.

I don't want any more texts. What do I do?

We get it. There's a whole lot of election going on and sometimes you want a break. All you have to do is text STOP and the conversation will end. You won't hear from us anymore.

If you want to start it up again, text ELECTION.

What happens to my phone number/info?

Your privacy is obviously very important to us. By using this service, you agree to receive SMS communications (that's a fancy way of saying texts) from the CBC about the federal election.

We're using a third party service provider to make it possible. They'll have access to your number and the messages you send us but only for the purpose of delivering the service. We'll be using your questions for research but will be keeping them anonymous.

We're working with Impact Mobile to provide this SMS service. Here's more about their privacy policy.

If you've got any other questions about how it all works, text ASK to 22222 and ask way. Or send Haydn an email at haydn.watters@cbc.ca.

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