I recently moved to Toronto for my co-op job as the Communications Intern with the College Student Alliance (CSA). I come from a small town, so it has been a whirlwind learning the city, and all the ins and outs of living in Toronto.
Working with CSA, I know how important the upcoming provincial election is, so I wanted to make sure that I voted. Because I move around every four months for school and co-op, my registered permanent address is my parent’s home near London.
The issue: My electoral district is near London, but I am unable to get home to vote. How will I vote?
Let the search for my answer commence.
I started my search at www.wemakevotingeasy.ca. I found the information about voting if you are living out of your district and Special Ballots so that I could mail in my vote. Even the form for applying for a Special Ballot was on the website. However, there was no information about where to send the form for a Special Ballot.
I searched the website more, and was hopeful when I found a page for students, but that page advised me to fill out a Special Ballot. So the answer to my question was that I needed a Special Ballot, but I now had a new question: where do I send my Special Ballot application? There must be an easier way to do this.
My frustration with the website grew, so I called Elections Ontario, multiple times. I was greeted each time by helpful and friendly employees, who helped clear up a lot of the confusion.
As a student living away from home, you have two options: Special Ballot, or voting at the current location you are in.
Option 1 – Special Ballot
1. Fill out this form: http://www.wemakevotingeasy.ca/media/en/F1000_special_ballot_application.pdf
2. Send the completed form, along with a photocopy of your photo ID, to the electoral office that you would like to vote at. You must have proof that your address within the riding that you send your application to. You can find your district by entering your address or postal code here: http://fyed.elections.on.ca/fyed/en/form_page_en.jsp
If you want to vote for the candidates in your home riding, then Special Ballot voting is your only option.
Option Two – Voting in Your Current Location
1. When voting is open, you are able to vote in the polling station for your district.
2. Make sure to bring your government issued I.D., and proof of your address. It must have your name, and address on it. For example, a phone bill. The address must be within the electoral district you are voting in.
Unlike the Special Ballot, you will be voting for the candidates in your temporary address, not those in your home riding.
I hope my experience learning how to vote will be helpful to other people who are in a similar situation. It is so important that everyone is able to, and knows their options for voting.
For more information about voting, platforms, and representation for students, please visit itsyourvote.ca.
Written by the CSA’s Communications Intern Jaclyn Wingfield.