As the June 12 provincial election draws near, post-secondary students still living in Peterborough are beginning to think not only of who to vote for, but also how to actually go about doing so.
If you’re a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, and if you live in an electoral district (i.e. anywhere in Ontario) then you are eligible to vote.
How To Register to Vote
Assuming you aren’t already on the Voters List (you can find out if you are here), and you haven’t received a Notice of Registration Card, then you will need to register. There are two ways to do this.
The first is to visit your local returning office and add your information there. You can do this any time between now and Election Day. In Peterborough the office is located at 898 Monaghan Road, Unit 4, just down from Michael’s and XS Cargo. You can get there by taking the Monaghan, Major Bennett, or Landsdowne buses.
If you’re voting outside of Peterborough you can find your local returning office by typing in your postal code here (this will also tell you all about advance polls and where to vote).
The second is to simply show up to the polls on voting day with your identification information and fill out a form.
What Information Do I Need to Register?
The easiest way to register is to provide government issued ID that lists both your name and address, such as a driver’s license.
However, many students might have ID that lists their parents’ address on it, or only ID like Health Cards that don’t list an address. In this case, you can bring one piece of ID that proves your identity, and a document that proves your residence. In 2011 our editor Pat used his Health Card and an Internet bill. A complete list of acceptable documents can be found here.
Do I Have To Vote in Peterborough?
Nope. Students who live away from home are lucky: we can choose whether to vote in Peterborough or in whichever riding we are originally from. All you have to do is choose your principal residence—this will be the one you prove when you add yourself to the list as explained above.
If you want to vote in the riding you originate from, you can’t show up to a Peterborough poll to do so. You’ll have to vote in an advance poll in your riding, or register to vote by mail or by Special Ballot.
Since there are many people who might need this info it gets its own section:
How to Vote in Advance or by Special Ballot
Between May 31 and June 6 advance polls are open. There are way too many options in Peterborough alone to list, but you can type in a postal code here and determine the best poll for you.
Voting by Special Ballot is already underway. You can get a copy of the application here or by visiting your local returning office. A competed application needs to be received by 6pm EST on June 11.
To register to vote by mail you need to get your name on the Register of Absentee Electors. To do so, simply fill out the Special Ballot and attach a photocopy of a piece of ID that proves your name and address. Send that to the returning office in the riding your principal residence is located in, or Elections Ontario. This must be received before June 6 at 6pm EST.
Once you’re approved you’ll receive the special ballot kit in the mail. Fill it out, send it back, and get on with your day! It just needs to arrive before 6pm on June 12.
All of this information, and more, is available in various places online at wemakevotingeasy.ca.