Voter information cards are in the mail

Elections Canada 2021 voter card (Photo via Elections Canada website)

With the federal election just over three weeks away, voter information cards have been mailed out.

Rejean Grenier with Elections Canada said information cards provide the location for voters to cast their ballots during advance polls and on election day, which may have changed from the previous election due to the pandemic.

“COVID has forced some returning officers to find other locations,” said Grenier. “Some school boards will not allow polling stations in the schools, so it’s important for people to really look at their voter information card to find out where they need to go to vote.”

Grenier said if you don’t receive your information card by September 10, you should make sure you’re registered by visiting the Elections Canada website.

Voters can also apply online for a kit to cast their vote by mail.

“Elections Canada was planning for around five to six million people who would vote by special ballot, either by mail or at a returning officer’s office,” said Grenier. With all the reopening of the country basically, and with the vaccination rate going up, we’ve lowered that expectation to between two and three million people.”

Grenier said residents can also cast a special ballot at the Sarnia-Lambton Returning Office, located at the SmartCentres plaza at 1430 Quinn Drive until September 14.

“That is probably one of the easiest ways to vote,” he said. “You go in there, you ask for a special ballot, you vote right there and then and that’s it, it’s done.”

Grenier said with the special ballots, voters will need to spell out the candidate’s name as some may have registered at the last minute.

Elections Canada has until midnight on September 1 to update its website with certified candidates, at which time ballots will begin to be printed. Those who vote by special ballot will also be asked to sign their name so that Elections Canada can be sure that people aren’t voting twice by submitting a special ballot and an election day ballot.

“These votes are going to be counted the day after the election. We need to know that that person didn’t vote twice,” said Grenier. “It’s all part of the safeguards for the vote.”

The Sarnia-Lambton returning office is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Advance polls are scheduled for September 10th to the 13th and election day is September 20.