Election 2015: How do I vote?

How, where and when to vote in Canada's 2015 federal election. Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

The 2015 federal election is on Oct. 19. Voters across the country will send 338 MPs to the House of Commons, forming the 42nd Parliament of Canada. has complete coverage of the election, including reality checks on campaign statements and promises, the latest seat projections, election primers on the big issues and a round-up of all the promises the party leaders have made.

Here’s what you need to know to cast your ballot.

Important times/dates

Election day is on Monday, Oct. 19. Polls will be open for 12 hours, but poll times vary depending on what time zone you’re in.

Voting hours across Canada (all times local):

  • Newfoundland Time: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Atlantic Time: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Eastern Time: 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Central Time*: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Mountain Time*: 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Pacific Time: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

*Saskatchewan is a special case, as most of the province doesn’t observe daylight saving time. So even though the province is geographically in the Mountain Time Zone, most of the province observes Central Standard Time all year round. All voters need to remember is that voting hours for this election in Saskatchewan are from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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As long as you are in the building at your polling station before the polls close, you are still able to vote, even if there is a line-up.

What’s my riding?

A lot has changed since the 2011 federal election. New riding boundaries have been drawn and 30 new electoral districts were added — meaning a lot of Canadians may be in a new riding this election. Not sure what riding you’re in? You can find out using our riding look-up tool below:


How do I vote?

Canadian citizens who are at least 18 years old on election day and who can prove their identity and home address can vote in the federal election.

The first step is to check if you are on the voters’ list here. If you are not on the voters’ list, don’t worry — you can add your name to the voters’ list when you go to vote on election day.

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If you are registered to vote but not at your current address, you’ll need to update your address info with Elections Canada. The deadline to update your registration info is Oct. 13. If you miss that deadline, the only way to update your registration is at your polling station on election day.

If you are registered to vote, you’ll receive a voter information card in the mail. This card will tell you when are where to vote. Voter information cards should arrive by Oct. 1, so if you haven’t received one by Oct. 2, you might not be registered to vote.

WATCH: How to cast your ballot early for the 2015 federal election

Other ways to vote

Advance voting days will be held from Friday Oct. 9 to Monday Oct. 12. Polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Your voter information card will tell you where to vote in advance polls.

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From now until Oct. 13, you can also vote at one of Elections Canada’s 400 offices by special ballot. Find the office nearest you here.

READ MORE: You can vote right now if you want to — here’s what you need to know

Between now and Oct. 13 you can also vote by mail, but you must apply to do this.

What ID do I need?

There are three options to prove your identity and address when voting in person.

First, show one of the following pieces of ID with your photo, name and current address: your driver’s licence or a provincial/territorial ID card.

The second option is to bring two pieces of acceptable ID — one of which must have your current address — such as a health card, Canadian passport, birth certificate, social insurance number card, bank statement, and so on. There are quite a few forms of acceptable ID, so for the full list, click here.

The third option, if you do not have ID with your current address, is to take an oath. To do so, you’ll need two pieces of ID that contain your name, plus have someone with you who can attest to your address. According to Elections Canada, “this person must show proof of identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and attest for only one person.”

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If you receive a voter information card in the mail, bring it with you to your polling station. The card helps speed up the process at the polling stations. But note that voter information cards can’t be used as your piece of ID.

If you did not receive a voter information card, you can still vote. Just make sure you bring proper ID.

Voting information for students

Students who live in two places must decide what place they consider home, for the purposes of the election. Whatever place that is, they should register to vote using that address. So, for example, if you’re from Winnipeg, but are attending school in Toronto and wish to vote in Toronto, register to vote using your Toronto address.

Like all other voters, students will need to prove their identity and home address. Student ID cards are accepted for proving your identity. To prove your address you should bring with you any document that shows your home address, like a utilities or Internet bill. One tip for those living in student residences is to ask their residence administrator for a letter of confirmation of residence — use that to prove your address.

If you’re studying abroad, you can vote by mail.

Voting information for the homeless

If you are homeless and stay in a shelter, you can use the address of the shelter as your home address. If you live on the street, you can use the address of a shelter or soup kitchen that you receive services from as your home address.

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To prove your address, you’ll need to get an official from the shelter or soup kitchen to fill out a letter of confirmation of residence for you. Bring that letter and a piece of ID with your name on it to vote.

Who do I vote for?

That’s for you to decide. There’s lots of time to brush up on the platforms of the candidates running in your electoral district. Find out who’s running in your riding here. 

Election results

On Monday Oct. 19, Global News will have live, real-time election results once the polls close.

Happy voting!

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