Election 2015: How to cast an early ballot

Early voting polls will be opened from Oct. 9-12 at various locations; for full details, visit Elections.ca.

Election Day is Oct. 19

With the federal election less than two weeks away, how to properly vote is coming into focus. There are many factors that can impede voter participation on Election Day, such as not being in the proper riding on Oct. 19, expired identification or a recent move that causes a voter’s address to be out of date.

To combat some of the impediments, Elections Canada wants to be as clear as possible on how to vote – where advanced polling stations are located, what identification qualifies and how to prove an address in the case of a recent move.

Advanced polling stations will be active in both Fernie and Sparwood, but not in Elkford – however Elkford residents can cast an early ballot at the Sparwood polling station. The advanced polling stations will be active from Oct. 9 to Oct. 12 and open from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. In Fernie, the station will be set up at the Fernie Family Centre on fourth avenue, while the Sparwood Recreation Centre, located on Pine Avenue, will host the other advanced polling station.

Elections Canada will accept over 40 pieces of identification. A driver’s license or another piece of government issued ID with the voter’s current address is the only piece of identification that will be accepted on it’s own. With all other identification, one piece is required plus a document to prove proof of address. According to Elections Canada officials, this can include a recent credit card statement, a bank statement or a personal cheque. No expired identification will be accepted.

In the case of a recent move or an out of date address, a voter can bring in his or her rental lease or mortgage documents as proof of address.  Barring that, a voter can have someone that has a current address in that riding to vouch for their residency. The person vouching has to take an oath, swearing that the voter does have an address in that area.

“If your ID does not have your current address, we suggest that you take an oath at your local polling station. You can do so by showing two pieces of ID with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and attest for only one person,” said an Elections Canada official.

The Elections Canada website can tell a voter where the closest advanced polling station is, but to get an accurate response, the address must match the one on Elections Canada’s records. For example, when tried at The Free Press offices, it took five attempts to get a result due to a common error. Second avenue must be typed as “2nd” to get a proper response.

For a comprehensive list of all identifications documents accepted or for more frequently asked questions, visit Elections.ca.