Are you ready to vote?
Now that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our Thanksgiving weekend, election day – Oct. 19 – is officially less than a week away. There’s still a lot to do in the final days of campaigning for candidates and party leaders, and the news will be filled with their campaign appearances in the final days as each seeks to secure voter support right until the last minute.
Regardless of how you may have celebrated Thanksgiving, with Oktoberfest activities, family gatherings or just enjoying the fine weather, the weekend also offered voters their first chance to cast ballots in advance polls from Oct. 9 through 12. Many people use advance polls if they know they will be travelling or unable to vote on election day. Now that the advance polls have closed, the focus is on Oct. 19, when most Canadians will head to the polls.
To vote, you must be registered with Elections Canada. If you have already received a voter information card in the mail, you are already registered. This card provides details about your riding and where to vote. If you haven’t received the card or you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote, visit the Elections Canada website. This site gives you all the information you need to determine if you are registered, and tells you what to do if you are not. The deadline to register was Oct. 13.
Now is the time to watch the parties and candidates closely to see what they are saying to lock down your vote. Have they been holding back a key policy or position hoping to sway votes? No doubt they will have something to share in the final days. Often the front-runner indicated by polling data is scrutinized hard by the other parties as each jostles for position. Here’s what you need to know as you prepare to vote:
- Know your local candidates and their positions on key issues
- Decide which party you want to see lead the country
- Find your polling station or Elections Canada office nearby
- Set aside time in your calendar to go to the polls and vote (and bring identification)
On Oct. 19, the polls will be open for 12 hours, and for those in Eastern time zone, the timing is from 9:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. You need to prove your identity and your address to cast your vote in person, so ensure you take identification with you. The voter information card doesn’t count as identification. You will want to take ID that includes your address.
And as a business owner, don’t forget that employees who are eligible to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours on election day to cast their vote. If the employee’s working hours don’t allow for three consecutive hours before they begin or finish work for the day, they are entitled to time off to allow them to cast their ballot.
On Oct. 19 at 9:30 pm EST, time is up. The decision we make on that day together will dictate the direction of our country, and all that it means for our families and businesses for the next four years. So, do your homework and vote on Oct. 19.