Web-extra (May 24, 2018) A Newswest – How To Vote;
New Ontario Voters should Be Prepared.
With more Canadians than ever being new to our election process, here are some points you as a new Ontarian voter may need to know.
In the days before an election you should;
1) Verify you are registered to vote. If you do it by May 29th you should receive your voter card in the mail in time for the polling day of June 7, 2018. Voter cards are first mailed out starting May 17 to May 25th. More are mailed later for corrections and new voters.
If you have lived at your current address for the last 4-5 years you may already be registered to vote. To verify your registration, or to correct/change your address etc or to register for the first time, there is an on-line registration at elections.on.ca . If you cannot access the internet contact your local returning office.
2) Put your voter card in a safe place until you vote. While you can cast a ballot without receiving a voter card, having your card with you at the poll will save you time.
3) Select what Identification you will bring with you. A photo ID with your name and current address is ideal (Drivers license, or other Ontario issued ID cards are best, but some federal ID cards are just as good.) The ID does not have to have a photo nor indicate citizenship but your name and address are required. If you do not have a card with your name and address, you can bring a document that you received in the mail like a bank statement, utility bill, Insurance, Tax slip, Pay receipt etc. For students their Letter of Admissions may suffice. Please note that while you must be a citizen of Canada to vote in the provincial election, you do not need to bring proof of citizenship to the poll. Proof of citizenship might be needed if somebody challenged your right to vote, but you would still be allowed to fill in a special ballot when you got to the Poll. Once your right to vote was confirmed, or if the challenge was removed then that special ballot would be included with the other ballots. Federal officials such as Immigration officials will not be inside your provincial polling station.
4) If you bring with you, as a memory aid, any literature from a candidate, Keep it to Yourself. Once inside the polling station your choice is supposed to be a secret, so don’t let anyone tell you who to vote for and don’t tell anyone who to chose. And leave nothing behind when you leave (except your ballot obviously). The one exception to this secrecy is if you are unable to mark your ballot unassisted then you may request somebody to help you behind the voting screen (or where you can reach). That person will be administered a special oath prior to helping you. There is more on available assistance on-line.
5) Know where to go and how to get there. Your voter card identifies the place and the poll number where you will vote. That information will also be in the hands of the returning office and a few days before the election likely in the hands of someone at the candidate’s Office that you are choosing to vote for. Elections Ontario also provides a Voter Information Service with such information.
If you cannot get to your poll on your own, the local candidates and riding associations organize volunteer drivers on polling days, as well as some community organizations, places of worship, senior’s residences etc. If you are too far away to get home you may still be able to cast a special ballot where you are, so contact Elections Ontario for advice in that case.
6) Chose a time. Polls are normally open 9a.m. to 9p.m. and employers are supposed to allow workers enough time to get to their polling station. To save time chose a less busy moment. Times that may be busy are shortly after the Polls open, before and after supper time. For some polls lunch time and after 8p.m. will also be busy. Voting early is generally better. If you wish to vote earlier Advance polling is often the least busy but a further distance to travel.***
On Election or Polling Day
7) Expect a few phone calls on Polling Day. The law forbids advertising and reporting on surveys the day before, but checking on likely voters is part of ‘getting out the vote’ that Candidates depend on. And remember whether on the phone, or outside the polling station nobody has any right to know how you voted.
[Ed: More on what to expect when you as a New Ontarian Voter arrive at your place for voting in our next article here on-line next Thursday.]
***Advanced date polling locations will be announced for May 26 to May 30th 2018 in your riding. On other days up to June 6, 2018 visit your returning office or use a mail-in ballot.