With issues like student loans and climate change ominously looming over the heads of many university students, voting in the upcoming federal election on October 21 has become more vital than ever. Elections Canada published a voter turnout chart stating that an average of 57.1% of Canadian citizens ages 18-24 voted in the last federal election. According to Statistics Canada, this percentage indicates that well over one million young adult voices were left unheard.
An essential step to having your democratic voice count involves obtaining the ability and knowledge of how to vote properly. A quick call to the Elections Canada number 1-800-463-6868, or searching “Ways to Vote” on elections.ca will reveal 4 ways to vote.
Prior to checking off a ballot, however, you must ensure you are registered to vote at ereg.elections.ca. It is also wise to make an informed vote through researching the federal candidates before October 21st. Such research can be done through reading over the candidates’ websites and watching or re-watching political debates online or on television.
The first method of voting is for those who will be in their home province and riding at the time of the election. If you are a registered voter, a Voter Information Card (VIC) will be mailed to your registered address prior to October 21, informing you of which poll to vote at in your area. Bring your VIC and ID to said poll and place your vote. Additionally, if you have decided that where you attend university is where you now call “home,” you can change your voter registration address at ereg.elections.ca, and a VIC will be delivered to your updated address.
The next three methods of voting are aimed towards individuals who will be away from their home province or riding nearing the time of the election, as is the case with many students at UBCO. Firstly, you can order a ballot to be mailed to you. To do so, you must apply to Vote By Mail on the Elections Canada website before October 15, 6:00 pm local time. Once you have received your special ballot in the mail, you should fill it out and send it back to the labelled address as soon as possible. With this method, timing is key to successful voting.
Secondly, select Canadian university campuses will hold polls from October 5 to October 9. Any citizen, student or not, can vote at these polls via the special ballot process if they bring a piece of ID. UBCO will be hosting an advanced voting polling station in the Administration building on October 5 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), October 6 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.), and October 7 – 9 (9:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.). A full list of campus voting locations is available under “Vote on campus” on elections.ca.
The third, and perhaps easiest voting option for those away from their home riding involves Elections Canada offices. There are over 500 Elections Canada offices open across Canada. Simply find one near you, bring your ID, and vote via the special ballot process any time before Tuesday, October 15 at 6:00 pm. Advanced voting at an Elections Canada office is not only simple, it also provides an opportunity for individuals who may be working or occupied on election day to successfully place their vote.
Perhaps an increased knowledge base regarding ways to vote will urge more university students to the polls, allowing their voices and political hopes for the future to be heard on October 21.