Navigating the mail-in-ballot service for the federal election as a student

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In the upcoming federal election on Sept. 20, Elections Canada anticipates that their mail-in-ballot service will be a primary source voters will use to mark their ballot.

The challenges imposed by COVID-19, including social distancing and indoor capacity restrictions, have made the mail-in-ballot service a convenient way to vote through the safety of your home. 

Elections Canada is prepared to receive up to 5 million mail-in-ballots in this year’s election.

In contrast to the 50,000 mail-in-ballots in 2019, this is a drastic increase.

If you’re 18 years old by election day, you are eligible to vote and are encouraged to do so.

With Elections Canada cancelling their Vote on Campus program, young voters will have to choose between in-person voting at an elections office or a mail-in-ballot.

Without the Vote on Campus program, it is crucial that students who are interested in voting are aware of the options and resources that are available to them to cast their vote.

The Vote on Campus program would have temporarily opened voting offices on university and college campuses, making voting accessible and convenient for students.

If you choose to vote by mail, you need to apply online or at an election office by Sept. 14 at 6:00 p.m. 

You can also vote in advance at your local election office starting on Friday, Sept. 10, to Monday, Sept. 13. 

The election office in the Waterloo region is 725 Bridge Street West, Suite 101, Waterloo, ON; hours of operation, Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m, Saturday: 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m and Sunday: 12:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.

If the application for your special ballot is approved, you will receive a voting kit with two envelopes and instructions to properly mark your ballot.

The ballot you will receive will be slightly different from what you would receive at the polling station. 

It won’t have a list of the Members of Parliament in your riding: candidates in your electoral district that, if elected, represent their party as an MP in the House of Commons. The party with the most number of MPs across the country usually forms the Government, and the leader of that party will become the Prime Minister.

Instead, your mail-in-ballot will have a blank space to write the first and last name of the candidate. It is not mandatory to write the name of the party you are voting for on the mail-in-ballot –– just the candidate’s full name.

In the Waterloo Region, the riding candidates are: 

-Liberal; Bardish Chagger.

-Conservative; Meghan Shannon.

-NDP; Jonathan Cassels.

-Green Party; Karla Villagomez Fajardo.

-People’s Party; Patrick Doucette. 

Once you mark your ballot, you will need to place it in the unmarked inner envelope you received in your voting kit and seal it shut. 

Then place the sealed inner envelope in the outer envelope; the one that displays your information.

After you have sealed the outer envelope, you will have to sign and date the declaration on the front of the outer envelope.

The final step involves just one more envelope.

You should have received a pre-addressed return envelope in your voting kit. Put the signed outer envelope in the return envelope and seal it shut.

Now all you need to do is go to your nearest mailbox or post office.

Check out www.elections.ca for more information on the election, candidates or voting.


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