What you need to know for Monday’s federal election

One of the longest federal election campaigns in Canadian history comes to a close at 7 p.m. Monday, after the final ballots are cast in British Columbia.

Despite the length of the campaign — 78 days — University of Victoria professor Kim Speers said she and her husband found this weekend that they are still undecided.

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She believes they are among a majority of voters.

“It’s difficult, because do you vote for the best local candidate, do you vote for the party, for the leader, for the policy issues, because your family has voted a certain way, or your previous voting pattern, or do you cast that strategic vote?” said Speers, who teaches in the school of public administration.

“All those issues are still percolating with me,” she said. “I think I know who I am going to vote for, but I’m still not sure.”

Turnout for the 41st federal general election in 2011 was 61 per cent, just above the all-time low of 58 per cent in 2008. Prior to 1993, turnout typically ranged between 70 per cent and 80 per cent.

About 3.6 million ballots were cast last weekend during advance polling, an increase of 71 per cent from 2011. “I’m hoping for a much higher voter turnout this time,” Speers said.

When can I vote?

B.C. polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

By law, everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours, your employer must give you time off.

What do I need?

To vote, you need to show proof of your identity and address.

Government-issued photo identification such as driver’s licences and provincial or territorial ID cards include both pieces of information; if you have one of these cards, you won’t need anything else.

If you don’t have one of these cards, you will need to show two pieces of identification. At least one must show your current address.

There are dozens of items that can be used as identification, including a passport, health card, credit or debit card, utility bill, bank statement, personal cheque or income tax refund statement. 

Electronic statements with addresses can be printed or shown on a mobile device.

Voter registration cards cannot be used as identification or proof of address.

Where do I vote?

Registered voters should have received a voter information card by mail. It tells you where you can vote.

If you received two cards, look for the one that says “replacement card” in the bottom right corner. That is the card you should use.

If you didn’t get a voter registration card or can’t find it, you can find your polling station online at elections.ca or by calling Elections Canada toll-free at 1-800-463-6868. Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Check online at http://bit.ly/1nWfP9G.

If you’re not registered, you can do so at your polling station. Filling out an online registration certificate and taking it with you may speed up the process. You’ll still need ID.

Who am I voting for?

Voters cast ballots for the candidates running in their riding. Candidates’ names and party affiliations will be printed on the ballot.

Vancouver Island has seven ridings — one more than in the last election. There will be 338 seats in the House of Commons after the election.

Need more information?

Go to the Elections Canada website at elections.ca or call 1-800-463-6868.

For more information on Vancouver Island ridings and candidates:


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