Can’t figure out the when, where or how to vote in the Oct. 1 Quebec election? We’ve got you covered.
READ MORE: Fact-checking the English leaders’ debate
The first step is to make sure you’re eligible to vote.
- be 18 years of age or older on Oct. 1, 2018;
- be a Canadian citizen;
- have lived in Quebec since April 1, 2018;
- not be under curatorship or have lost your election rights.
Your name must also appear on the list of electors and you should have received an information card, including the voter’s manual, in the mail.
You can check to see if you are eligible to vote here (you can also use this link to register for the list of electors).
“It is your responsibility to check that you are registered on the list of electors and that your personal information is correct,” stresses Elections Quebec.
“On Oct. 1, it will no longer be possible to enter your name or make a change of address.”
WATCH ABOVE: Party leaders face off in English debate
Where to vote
There will be over 22,000 polling stations across the province.
Your employer is obliged to give you four consecutive hours between 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. to go vote, without pay cut or penalties.
To find out where you can vote (including how to vote if you’re not able to get to a polling station), and to learn about the candidates in your riding, click here.
If you are unable to vote on Oct. 1, you can vote in advance on Sept. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 27 — click here to find out where your advance polling station is.
All polling stations are accessible to people with reduced mobility.
Polls close at 8 p.m.
WATCH BELOW: Making the environment a Quebec election campaign issue
What to do at the polling station
Election officers will greet you when you arrive at your polling station — don’t forget to bring your information card to help make the process smoother.
You also have to bring a piece of ID with you — either a Quebec driver’s licence, Quebec health insurance card, Canadian passport, Certificate of First Nations Status or a Canadian Armed Forces identity card.
If you are unable to present one of these documents, the election officers will direct you to the identity verification panel.
Once you get your card, you will go behind the polling booth, use the provided pencil to clearly mark (preferably with an X) which candidate you want to elect, then you will fold the ballot paper and return to the table; tear off the ballot paper stub and hand it to the polling officer before placing your ballot in the box.
WATCH BELOW: Will the youth vote show up at the Quebec election?
Voting for kids
There will be “small polling stations” to introduce children to the electoral process “by giving them their own chance to vote.”
“While small polling stations are specially designed for children between the ages of three and 12, they are open to anyone under 18 who is interested in learning about the electoral process,” Elections Quebec said.
Why should you vote?
Elections Quebec points out it’s important to vote so you can express your views on issues and decisions that have an impact on your life, defend your interests and participate “concretely in democratic life.”
Contrarily, abstaining from voting means “letting other people choose and decide for you, giving greater power to those who do vote, electing people who may not represent your interests,” and letting those who vote decide which political parties receive the most public financing — every vote has a monetary value.
To find out about the 22 political parties in Quebec, click here.
WATCH BELOW: Courting the Anglo vote these elections
How does the electoral system work?
Provincial elections in Quebec are held the first Monday of October every four years — this is a law that was adopted in 2013, but the premier can still submit a request to the lieutenant-governor to end the term early if needed.
Quebec’s territory is divided into 125 geographic ridings; each electoral division is home to roughly 48,100 voters.
Voters elect one Member of the National Assembly (MNAs) to represent their electoral district.
Their job is to study, analyze and vote on bills, while also acting as a link between the residents in their riding (to represent their interests) and the provincial government.
“The political party that elects the most MNAs forms the government, and its leader becomes the premier,” explains Elections Quebec.
“A government is called a ‘majority government’ when it takes over more than half of the 125 seats in the National Assembly. If it takes fewer than half the seats, it is a ‘minority government.'”
“In the history of our province, almost all governments have been majority governments.”
Depending on which party is elected, the MNA in your riding may be part of the governing body or act as an opposition.
Candidates can also sit as independents, which means they are not affiliated to any of the political groups.
If you want to learn more about what MNAs do, click here.
If you want to know who was elected in your riding in previous elections, click here.
If you are interested in running as a candidate in the next provincial election, click here.