A Canadian federal election is underway and every eligible member of the UBC community is encouraged to take part in this foundational part of Canada’s democratic system.
The election takes place Monday, September 20 and there are many ways to cast your ballot, whether through advance polls, by mail or on election day itself.
Below is the information you’ll need to make your voice heard this election.
- Am I eligible to vote?
- In which electoral district do I vote?
- How do I register to vote?
- How do I vote?
- What identification do I need to vote?
- COVID-19 health and safety measures
- Other helpful links
First things first – in order to vote in the federal election, you must be eligible to do so. If you meet the following requirements, you can cast a ballot this election:
- be a Canadian citizen
- be at least 18 years old on election day (Monday, September 20)
- be able to show proof of identity and address when you cast your ballot
Next, you’ll want to determine which electoral district you will be voting in.
For the 2021 federal election, Canada is divided into 338 electoral districts, which can also be referred to as ridings or constituencies.
UBC Vancouver is located in the electoral district of Vancouver—Quadra and UBC Okanagan is located in the electoral district of Kelowna—Lake Country. However, members of the UBC community live and come from across Canada, and will be able to vote in a diverse range of electoral districts.
As an eligible voter, you’re able to cast your ballot in the electoral district in which you live. To determine which electoral district you live in and to find your assigned polling station, use the Voter Information Service. If you live in more than one place throughout the year—like many students and members of the UBC community—you may have a choice regarding the electoral district in which they vote.
For example, many students come to UBC from across Canada and may return home for some portion of the year. These individuals can choose to either vote in the electoral district in which they live while at UBC, or in their “home” electoral district. If you’re living at UBC and want to vote in your “home” electoral district, you’ll need to either vote by mail or by visiting any Elections Canada office. See below for more information on how you can vote.
No matter how you decide to cast your ballot, you’ll need to show documentation proving your address. See below or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.
Registering to vote in advance of election day is not required, but it can make the voting process easier. Many Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered in a specific electoral district, but there are several ways to change where you are registered to vote.
To check if you’re registered, use the Online Voter Registration Service, visit a local Elections Canada office or call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.
To register for the first time or change where you are registered, you can use the Online Voter Registration Service or visit a local Elections Canada office. To do so, you will need to prove your identity and address. See below or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.
Remember, you do not need to register in advance. You can also register at your assigned polling station when you go to vote.
There are many ways to cast your ballot in this election and how you do so is completely up to you. Below are all the different ways you can make your voice heard on or before election day.
Remember, no matter which option you choose, you’ll need to prove your identity and address. See below or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.
If you’re temporarily living at UBC and plan to vote in your home electoral district, you’ll need to either vote by mail or at an Elections Canada office.
Option 1: Vote at your assigned advance polling station
You can get a head-start and beat the rush of election day by voting at an advance polling station. Advance polls will be open September 10-13 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time.
Option 2: Vote by mail
Voting by mail is a convenient option if you’re living away from home or if you simply want to vote from the comfort of your home. To vote by mail, apply online or at any Elections Canada office across Canada. But don’t wait – deadlines apply. You must apply before Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. and your ballot must be returned by election day.
Voting by mail uses the special ballot process. Once you have applied to vote by special ballot, you can’t change your mind and vote at advance polls or on election day.
Option 3: Vote at any Elections Canada office
Regardless of the electoral district in which you are voting, you can vote at any one of over 500 Elections Canada offices across the country before Tuesday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. These offices will be open seven days a week:
- Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday: noon to 4:00 p.m.
Option 4: Vote on election day at your assigned polling station
Voting on election day is a great way to feel the buzz of democracy in action. Election day polling stations will be open on Monday, September 20 for 12 hours (hours vary by time zone).
Your polling station is determined by where you live in your electoral district, and you cannot vote at any other polling station. To find the correct polling station, check your voter information card or use the Voter Information Service.
To register and to vote, you have to prove your identity and address. There are three ways to do this:
- Option 1: Show one piece of government ID that has your photo, name and address (i.e. Driver’s License or another government-issued ID)
- Option 2: Show two pieces of ID. Both must have your name and at least one must have your address.
- Option 3: If you don’t have ID, you can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is also assigned to your polling station vouch for you.
Visit Elections Canada to learn more about each of these three options and for a list of accepted ID.
In light of the pandemic, Elections Canada is working to make sure in-person voting is safe for electors and elections workers. Every polling station will feature hand sanitizer stations, physical distancing markers and poll workers will be wearing personal protective equipment. Electors are encouraged to wear masks and will be required to follow the applicable provincial public health guidelines.
Learn more about Elections Canada’s health and safety measures here.
You can visit Elections Canada for a range of resources about the election and how to vote. Below are some helpful links: