No reason now not to get out to vote in the upcoming Federal Election
As election season begins to ramp up, local students looking to vote in their own riding before trekking off to school or travel need not worry.
Although not many people know of it, Elections Canada offers the opportunity to participate in what’s known as special ballot voting.
All that’s required is a piece of photo I.D. with proof of residency, such as a driver’s license.
Another important thing to know before heading in is that in order to place a vote, an elector must know the name of the person they want to vote for, as Elections Canada is currently unable to provide a list of candidates.
Those ballots, which list both name and party, aren’t made available until 20 days before the advance polling days which takes place from October 9th to the 12th.
While it may be news to some, special ballot voting is standard practice.
“We are always open for special ballot voting as soon as we get the office open, legislation requires that,” said Robert Switzer, the Kootenay-Columbia returning officer. “I opened the office once the ribbon was dropped as soon as I could.”
One of the most important voting groups is young voters in the 18-34 range. Voting advocacy groups like Community Voter Challenge have set out to increase voter awareness with a specific focus on this age range.
“What we want is to create a community conversation about why it is important to vote, a conversation that inspires action on October 19th. The Community Voters Challenge is a worthwhile endeavor that affects all of us because as local governments, as we are committed to citizen involvement at every level,” said Nelson’s Mayor Deb Kozak in an open letter discussing the group’s goals.
One of the organizers of the Community Voter Challenge, Mike Chapman, told The Nelson Daily in an email why it’s important for residents to be aware of special ballot voting.
“The real story is that people can vote now, that they don’t need to wait for the official advance poll on Thanksgiving weekend, when they may very well be involved in traveling and family visits,” Chapman said.
“This is especially pertinent for students who will soon be leaving town.”
The Elections Canada offices are located on the fifth floor at 310 Ward Street, andwill be open 9 am to 9 p.m.
Monday to Friday beginning September 8, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. to register voters and to allow special ballot voting.
Special ballot voting will end at 6 p.m. on October 13.
Advance polling will be open 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Oct 9, 10, 11 and 12 with the location to be announced, and voting hours on the big day, October 19 are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Pacific Time Zone and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Mountain Time Zone.