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How to Vote by Mail For the Upcoming Election

As Canadians get ready to vote on September 20th, many will turn to mail-in voting due to the ongoing pandemic.

To ensure everyone feels safe while voting, Elections Canada is offering more options to vote by mail. Here’s how to do it.

Applying to vote by mail

Canadians eligible to vote can apply online, by calling Elections Canada or in person at the nearest Elections Canada office. You must provide either a valid proof of identity such as a driver’s licence or another piece of ID like a passport and proof of current address.

If you’re a Canadian citizen living abroad, you can vote by mail. To do so, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on election day
  • have lived in Canada at some point in your life
  • Apply online or by mail. You can request the form to be printed at most Canadian embassies, high commissions or consulates. Contact the organization in advance to make sure this service is offered.

You must provide a copy of one of the following pieces of ID:

  • pages 2 and 3 of your Canadian passport
  • your Canadian citizenship certificate or card
  • your birth certificate, showing that you were born in Canada

Once your application is approved, you will be added to the International Register of Electors. When an election is called, you will receive a special ballot voting kit. Please note that embassies, high commissions and consulates do not process applications or provide voting kits. The deadline to apply to vote by mail is 6:00 p.m., Eastern time, on Tuesday, September 14.

When you receive your special ballot voting kit, simply fill out your special ballot and send it back to us. To count your vote, your marked ballot must be received by election day, Monday, September 20th, 6:00 p.m., Eastern time. If you are concerned about returning your ballot in time, you may consider using an expedited parcel delivery service, at your own cost.

To ensure no one votes more than once, Elections Canada has said it updates its records to show when a ballot has been received. Once they open the mailing envelope, they “put the signed outer envelope and unmarked inner envelope aside until other mandatory checks are completed.”

In order to verify the ballot, the information on the outer envelope is checked to ensure it matches its application and that each voter has signed a declaration, which is found on the outer envelope.

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