Vote before Election Day at advance polls or with the ‘special ballot process’

Some Canadians simply want to vote for their favourite candidate as quickly as possible. Some Canadians aren’t thrilled to head to the ballot box while COVID-19 infections rise across the country. All eligible Canadians who want to vote early in person for the federal election can do that at the advance polls starting Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.

Elections Canada provides three ways to vote before Election Day, which is Sept. 20. You can vote on the advance polls days, at any Elections Canada office, or by mail-in ballot.

Read more: It’s time to vote: Advanced polling opening to Canadians during pandemic election

Advance poll days

Advance polling stations are open Friday, Sept. 10 to Monday, Sept. 13, each day from 9 am to 9 p.m. You can only vote at your assigned polling station indicated on the back of your voter information card. You can also go to the Elections Canada website and use the agency’s voter information service to find your advance polling station.

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Elections Canada office

There are 500 Elections Canada offices open across the country. Three offices are open in Regina. You can use the search tool on the Elections Canada website to find the one closest to you. Every office is open seven days a week: Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mail-in ballot

You’ll need to apply to vote by mail on the Elections Canada website before Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. You will be sent a mail-in ballot kit and you must return it on, or before, Election Day, which is Monday, Sept. 20.

Read more: Saskatchewan sees record turnout during advance polls

If you choose to vote by mail, or in-person at any Elections Canada office, you’ll be voting in the “special ballot process.” Prepare yourself before you vote by getting a list of all the candidates in your riding from the Elections Canada website as one won’t be provided for you. If you’re voting in person at an Elections Canada office, someone will be able to assist you.

Write the first and last name of your chosen candidate onto your empty ballot. You can include the party of your candidate if you want to, but if you complete your empty ballot with only the name of a political party, your vote won’t be counted.

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Place your ballot into the unmarked envelope provided, then place that envelope into the marked envelope with your information on it. Sign and date your envelope. If you’re voting by mail, place your completed ballot into a mailbox, or if you’re at an Elections Canada office, drop it into the ballot box. You’re done!

Read more: Advance, drive-thru polls to open for Regina municipal election next week

The “special ballot process” is done this way to ensure anonymity while votes are counted. Only the unmarked envelopes are counted after they have been separated from the marked envelopes.

If you’re voting in person and you don’t have your voter identification card, you can register to vote at the polling station, or at an Elections Canada office. You’ll need to bring a government-issued piece of identification, such as a driver’s licence or passport.

Read more: Protests not influencing polls, but Canadians growing frustrated with pandemic election

COVID-19 safety measures are also in place for anyone voting in person in Saskatchewan. Election Canada has mandated mask-wearing. If you don’t bring a mask, one will be provided for you. There will also be a one-time use pencil, or you can bring your own writing utensil.

All staff will be wearing masks. Social distancing signs and hand sanitizing stations will be available at every polling station. Polling staff will be restricted to one person per table and Plexiglas will shield them from voters.

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