Election Primer 001: How to Vote
A quick and easy guide for the perplexed.
Today we look at how to vote.
Step 1: Become a Canadian citizen.
Born in Canada or to Canadian parents? Congratulations, you're already done this. If not, and you're a permanent resident, then Citizenship and Immigration Canada are the people to talk to.
Step 2: Turn 18*.
If you were born on or before January 23, 1988 you're good (they don't ask what time you were born). If not, build a time machine and go back and convince your parents to get it on earlier. Just be careful about those Back-to-the-Future-esque paradoxes.
Step 3: Get on the voter's list.
Canada keeps a permanent list, so there's a good chance that you're already on it. If you've voted in the past three elections, paid income tax or have a car you're probably in the clear. If none of those apply, Elections Canada can help you out. If you're a student, you get to choose if you want to vote in your parents' riding, or in your dorm's riding. Choose carefully.
Step 4: Go and vote.
Over the next few weeks, voter cards should be sent out to most Canadians. These will tell you where your poll is. While it's helpful to bring these cards with you, as long as you bring ID and proof of address, it's okay if you lose the cards. The candidates have their party affiliations listed on the ballot, but they don't really matter - an MP can change his party more or less at will, and votes only count within the riding; they are not tallied nationally.
You can also vote by post or in advance if the 23rd isn't a good date for you - but remember, your employer is obligated to ensure you have at least three consecutive hours to do your voting; no excuses now!
*The requirements of this step are blatantly discriminatory and arguably violate two sections of the Charter. That said, nobody has gotten the courts to change this yet. Hopefully Canada will eventually have universal suffrage and this step can be eliminated.
Next primer: How to not vote
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