By: Zack Silverberg
Now that we’ve rung in 2015 it is time to grasp how important this year will be for Canadians. Once again, citizens 18 and older will flock to the polls to elect the federal government.
There are, however, a few things to know while preparing to cast your ballot. With these four easy steps you too will have your voice heard when the time comes to step into the voting booth.
Pro Tips for Voting in Canada:
- Make sure you are a registered voter in the correct geographical riding
- Educate yourself about the issues
- Learn about your local candidates
- Get out to vote
1. Registering to Vote
Voter registration is easy and can be done in 90 seconds online. All you need is your name, birthday, gender and address in order to check where you are registered to vote.
You will be mailed your voter information card in advance of the election. The card will include your polling information for Election Day, and information on how to vote in the advanced polls if you cannot make it on Election Day (or are volunteering or working at a poll).
2. Educate yourself about the Issues
Once you’ve ensured that you are registered to vote and know which riding you will be voting in, you then need to understand the various local and nation-wide issues upon which the election will hinge.
Everyone has different stances on a wide variety of issues and most peoples’ ideas do not squarely fall within the framework of a single political party in Canada. One quick and easy way to see where on the political spectrum you fall is a ‘vote compass’.
Generally the CBC, before each election, posts an online quiz where anyone can freely and easily fill in how they feel about certain issues. The vote compass will then show you which party you most align with on various issues. A vote compass match should not determine which party you vote for, but it does provide a starting ground to evaluate which issues are at play in an election and where each party stands.
3. Learning about Local Candidates
As you know, in Canada, we vote for our local candidates for the position of Member of Parliament. The federal party which has the most Members of Parliament elected then forms the government and the leader of the party becomes the Prime Minister.
Voting for one candidate in your riding (your electoral district), whose party is led by a party leader who may be running half way across the country, is a choice not to be taken lightly.
Each local candidate will, hopefully, have a visible presence within your local riding. However, if you are unsure who your local candidates are or want to learn about other candidates that you are not familiar with, the best bet it to do a quick search on the Elections Canada Website.
Once you’ve found out which candidates are running, feel free to reach out to their offices, browse their websites, or meet them in person either on your doorstep as they canvass or at an event.
4. Get Out To Vote!
This is by far the most important step in the process. Even if you did not receive a voter’s card, so long as you have the Correct ID and verification that you live at the address from which you are voting, you can vote.
Head over to your local polling booth during polling hours and exercise your democratic right!