#IAmVoting: Election Information and Participation Guide
You Have The Right To Vote
This fall there will be a Federal Election for the Government of Canada. The election will be held on Monday, October 21, 2019.
Voting for the first time can be a little scary because often people do not know what to expect. This guide will help you understand what voting is about and why it is important.
We hope this information will help make your voting experience a good one.
#IAmVoting Toolkit: Election Information and Participation Guide
What’s in this Guide
- Your Vote, Your Choice
- Questions about Voting
- Voting for Political Parties
- Participating in the Election
- Ten Questions to Ask Every Politician
- Why Should You Vote?
- What does that word mean?
- More Information and Links
You can also download and share the PDF #IAmVoting Toolkit: Election Information and Participation Guide
For specific policy issues and detailed election information please see: CACL: A National Disability Action Plan
Please share and link with everyone. Thank you!
Your Vote, Your Choice
During the election, each political party can put forward a candidate in every voting region or area (called Ridings).
You vote for the candidate you want.
The candidate that gets the most votes becomes a Member of Parliament (MLP). That MP represents the people in your Riding. The party that gets the most MPs elected forms the Government. The party with less MPs elected forms the Opposition.
Everyone who is a Canadian Citizen and who is 18 years of age or older on voting day has the right to vote in this election.
This package gives you some ideas about how to get involved in the election. It explains some things about how an election works.
Questions about Voting
- Who can vote?
- How do I get on the voters’ list?
- When can I vote?
- Where do I vote on Election Day?
- If I am not on the voters’ list on Election Day can I still vote?
- What if I live in a hospital or group home?
- What if I need help when I vote?
- What if I need a ride?
- How do I vote at the polling statio#n?
- How do I get voting information?
Who can vote?
Every person who is a Canadian citizen and 18 years or older on voting day, can vote in this election if they are on the voters’ list. You also have to live in the riding where you are voting.
How do I get on the voters’ list?
If you are already on the voters’ list you will receive a voting card in the mail. If you do not receive a voting card, call Elections Canada (1-800-463-6868). You can register before or when you go to vote. Register before you go to vote, use the Online Voter Registration Service before October 15, 6 p.m. In-person at any Elections Canada office across Canada until October 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.
When can I vote?
You can vote at your assigned polling station on Monday, October 21. Polls will be open in B.C. from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Advance voting is available from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, October 11, Saturday, October 12, Sunday, October 13 and Monday, October 14
If I am not on the voters’ list on Election Day can I still vote?
Yes. If you do not get on the voters’ list before the Election, you can register to vote at the polling station when you vote. However, there may be line-ups and you will have to prove your identity and address. There are three ways to do this:
Option 1: Government Issued ID
Show one of these pieces of ID your driver’s licence, or any other card issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with your photo, name and current address
Option 2: Show two pieces of ID
Both pieces of ID must have your name and at least one must have your current address. For example, you could use your voter information card and bank statement utility bill or student ID card. See complete list at www.elections.ca
Option 3: If you don’t have ID
You can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you. The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care institutions).
Where do I vote on Election Day?
On Election Day you vote at a place called a “polling station”. The address of the polling station will be sent to you in the mail along with your voters’ card. Polling stations can be schools, town halls, or other places in your community where people gather. If you don’t get this information, call your Elections BC office and ask them where to vote.
What if I live in a hospital or group home?
All people who live in hospitals or group homes have the right to vote. Sometimes they send a “mobile polling station” to places like group homes and hospitals. Ask the staff if this is going to happen where you live.
What if I need help when I vote?
You can bring someone you trust with you to help you vote. The person you choose has to sign a declaration that they are there to assist the voter with a disability. Or, you can ask one of the staff at the polling station to help you. This person can read you the names or help you mark your ballot.
What if I need a ride?
- Ask a friend or person you trust to take you.
- Phone one of your local candidates and tell them you need a ride. You don’t have to vote for the person who gave you a ride.
What if I still can’t get to the polling station to vote?
If the above options are not available to you or if you will be out of the province on Election Day or you just can’t make it down to vote, you may be able to vote by mail. To vote by mail, apply online or at any Elections Canada office across Canada before Tuesday, October 15, 6:00 p.m.
How do I vote at the polling station?
- Take your I.D. or your voters’ card to the polling station. You can bring either one piece of I.D. issued by the Government that has your name, photo and address OR you can bring two documents that have your name on them. One of those has to have your address too. Check www.elections.ca to see the list of acceptable documents.
- Someone will give you a piece of paper with the names of all the people you can vote for. This is called a “ballot”.
- Pick one person you want to vote for and put a mark (X) inside the circle beside their name. If you have a visual impairment or if you are blind, you can get a special cardboard ballot with holes on it to make voting easier for you.
- After you mark your ballot put it in the box. Remember, you can only vote for one person. If you put more than one (X) on your ballot it will not count.
How do I get voting information?
Phone Elections Canada: 1-800-463-6868
Visit the Elections Canada website:
If you have a visual impairment you can get a special “Braille Template” (a special cardboard with holes on it to make voting easier for you). Also, you can get information on TV by watching the news. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, phone TDD/TTY: 1-888-361-8935
Elections Canada is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElectionsCanE/
Voting for Political parties
And their leaders
In this election, people vote for the person they want to speak for them in the Government of Canada. This person usually belongs to a “political party”.
Every political party has a Leader, but the Leader’s name is not on the ballot. The ballot only has the name of the local person who is a candidate in your area and the name of the political party they are with.
There are many political parties registered in Canada, but only four of those parties run candidates in almost every riding. There are also many candidates running as an independent, which means they don’t belong to any political party. Phone Elections Canada or visit their website to find out which parties have candidates in your riding.
If you want to know more about the candidates who are running for election in your community, visit their campaign offices or go to an all candidates meeting. If you have access to the Internet you can look up websites for each party. These websites will have information on each party’s platform. A platform talks about what the party believes and the things that they will do if they are elected.
Participating in the Election
There are lots of ways to learn about voting and how the election works. Here are some ideas you can do on your own or with a group.
- You can get together with a friend you trust and talk about how voting works.
- Pay attention to the local TV news, radio stations, newspapers and Internet. They will have updates on the election campaign. They will also have regular election specials.
- Self-advocates can get together and invite all the candidates to come and attend a “Question and Answer” meeting on your issues.
- You and your friends can go to an “All Candidates Meeting” in your area to meet the candidates and ask questions on issues that are important to you.
- You can practice voting by role-playing with pretend ballots.
- You can call Elections BC and ask them for an election kit.
- You can phone or email your candidates and get him or her to answer your questions.
- You can visit all the candidates’ offices in your area to see how they are running their campaigns; you can learn a lot and meet new people.
- If you know who you want to vote for, you can volunteer to help them at their campaign office.
- You can check out where your polling place is before Election Day.
- The candidates and their helpers may come to your place to give you information and talk to you about why you should vote for them. This is OK, BUT you don’t have to talk to anyone you do not want to. And you do not have to let anyone into your house who you don’t want to talk with.
- Be a letter writer. Tell candidates and newspapers about the issues that are important to you.
Ten Questions to Ask Every Politician
Ask your politicians these questions to see if they are committed to supporting people with disabilities
Promoting Health and Well-being
- Will your party support and fund a national policy to address Canada’s mental health crisis? (Especially for people with disabilities.)
- Will your party amend the Canada Health Act to include palliative care as a core service?
- Will your party preserve and protect the end of life criteria related to medical assistance in dying?
- Will your party adopt new legislation to protect the right to housing for all?
- Will your party fund affordable, accessible and inclusive housing for people with intellectual disabilities?
- Will your party use the Housing Inclusivity Framework when funding housing-related projects across the country?
Poverty, Jobs and Financial Security
- Will your party adopt a targeted employment strategy for persons with disabilities?
- Will your party practice in inclusive hiring?
- Will your party change the ten-year rule to allow for greater flexibility in making Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) withdrawals? (And address the issues of legal capacity for persons with intellectual disabilities.)
- Will your party make the Disability Tax Credit refundable? (And ensure that this refund is not be clawed back by other governments if the person is receiving social assistance.)
Why Should You Vote?
Your right to vote is one of the most important rights you have. It is the way you help choose who will represent you in Canada’s government. When you vote you are participating as a full citizen in Canadian society.
- You have the right to get on the voters’ list.
- You have the right to vote.
- Your vote is your personal choice.
- Your vote is a secret – you don’t have to tell anyone who you vote for if you don’t want to.
- You have the right to talk to the candidates and ask them questions and get answers in a way you understand.
- You have the right to put a sign on your lawn or window for the candidate of your choice. You also have the right to refuse.
- No one can tell you who to vote for.
- Get your name on the voters’ list.
- Find out who the candidates are.
- Know the issues. Get the information you need.
- Make plans to get to the place where you vote.
- Bring your voter’s card (or ID) with you when you go to vote.
- If you need it, bring a friend you trust to help you vote.
- Keep informed after the election is over. Find out if the person who got elected in your area is keeping the promises they made during the election.
What do these words mean?
All Candidates Meeting: A meeting where all the people who want to be elected come together to talk about the issues.
Ballot: The piece of paper with the names of all the people who are trying to get elected in your area.
Candidate: A person who is trying to get elected.
Declaration: A document making something official.
General Voting Day: The day most people go to vote. Also known as polling day.
MP: Member of the Parliament: the person who represents your Riding.
Platform: What the party believes and the things that they will do if they are elected.
Political Party: An organization which has certain ideas about how to run the province. A candidate usually belongs to a political party. For example, NDP, Liberal, Green, Conservative, etc.
Polling Station: The place where you go to vote on Election Day.
Federal Election: Voting for the Government of Canada.
Federal Government: The people who are elected to manage the country of Canada.
Returning Officer: The person in your community who is in charge of making sure the election is fair and everyone gets to vote.
Riding: The area you live and vote in.
Voting: Choosing the person you want to speak for you in the Government
#IAmVoting: More Information and Links
Canadian Election 2019: #IAmVoting Campaign
We all want to engage our community and get the vote for the 2019 Canadian Election. Please share the following resources and documents which are all part of our #IAmVoting Campaign.
- Inclusion BC #IAmVoting PDF ToolKit: Election Information and Participation Guide
- CACL: A National Disability Action Plan
- CIIC: I Am Voting (Election 2019)
If you have more questions about voting contact
- Elections Canada
Toll Free: 1-800-463-6868
Thanks to all the people and organizations that helped us create the #IAmVoting campaign:
- People First BC
- Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo
- Self Advocate Net
- Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL)
- Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIIC)
- Inclusion Langley
- Vela Canada
- Family Support Institute
- Inclusion BC
Please share! Thank you.