A Beginner’s Guide to the Federal Election

How to vote in the election, and do so conscientiously

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My attention has always fallen short when it comes to politics.

It’s exhausting to scrutinize someone whose job is to make themselves more likeable. Politicians lie or tell half-truths because they’re people, and people can be hard to read. However, deciding not to vote simply because it’s the easy choice is not the right response.

That’s how people like Trump come into power, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and watch that happen to my home.

If you’re reading this newspaper, you probably already satisfy the criteria for those who are allowed to vote in the federal election, but we’ll go over it just in case. To vote you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, and able to prove your address and identity.

You also have to be registered to vote. If that’s a problem for you, or if you’ve never registered before, you can read more about it online. Elections Canada is a wonderful resource for answering all of your voting questions, and is a primary source for my own research. You can also register in person on election day if you prefer.

You can either vote on election day—Oct. 21—or on an advanced voting day. Go to Elections Canada’s website in order to search for an advanced voting station near you. You can also do it via mail if you’d like.

Most importantly, make sure to bring at least two pieces of ID or one piece of photo ID with your name and address on them with you when you vote. If your ID doesn’t have an address on it, you can still use it, but you also need to have a friend who does have that kind of ID to vouch for the validity of your identity. If they take an oath for you, you’ll be allowed to vote.

I didn’t know we could still prove things by swearing an oath, but there you go.

Finally, if you need assistance in voting due to a disability, you can find a number of helpful tools listed on Elections Canada’s website. Braille, sign language, marking assistance, and more are offered, so if you or someone you know is unable to vote without help, please see the website for details.

Being a conscientious voter is really a matter of determining what’s important to you. Checking over what each party stands for and what they promise to do is a great start, but it’s important as well to look into the people behind that party. Find out more about each party’s leader, as well as their MPs and other affiliates or representatives.

If you start digging, you may be surprised by what you find. Sometimes your party of preference is going to be spear-headed by someone you can’t stand, and it’s good to have a back-up plan if you start questioning your voting plans for any reason.

You may think that one vote doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and if it was just you voting alone, then you’d be right. But if all non-voters banded together to elect a new leader for our country, we would almost double the total voting pool.

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