Yesterday I sauntered on to the fifth floor of Nelson city hall and cast my vote in the upcoming federal election, a full two months beforehand. I’d registered online that morning—it took about two minutes—and the whole voting process took me about half an hour.
Earlier that morning my coworker Bill had received some reports that people were having trouble registering online, and he wanted to investigate whether that was true. He asked whether I’d be his guinea pig and I happily agreed, figuring I’d take a test run of the whole voting process.
(It was a good excuse to get out of the office on a sunny day.)
When I first came in, I was helped by a friendly revising agent who, it turns out, used to work in the same office as me. She sent me along to the special ballot coordinator, who I recognized as a a local environment consultant and prolific Star letter-writer. Typical for a small town.
I was the only one there to vote that day, and it seemed like they were still getting things set up, but they were efficient and friendly—even when they discovered the address sticker on my I.D. had been grime-rubbed in my pocket to the point of illegibility.
“Obviously I know you and trust you, but if I allow you to vote with illegible ID I would be committing a crime,” the coordinator told me.
But even that was quickly and easily addressed. I just took my license to Service BC on the first floor and had a new sticker printed in a matter of minutes.
My point in all this: it’s your turn, and there’s no reason to wait.
If you’re in Nelson, the elections office at 310 Ward (phone number 250-505-8450 or 1-866-545-0621) will be open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for August and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays in September.
Once September rolls around you’ll also be able to vote between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. The only catch is you need to know the name of the candidate you’re voting for, and you need to pencil it in yourself (rather than Xing a box).
This system, by the way, is called special ballot voting. It’s different than advance polling, which takes place from Oct. 9 to 12. And as Bill reported in a previous story, if you’re a student you can choose to vote in either your home or your school’s riding.
All you need to vote is a driver’s license. If you don’t have one, you can also show your provincial or territorial ID card. If you don’t have those, you’ll need two pieces of ID with your name and address.
Need some more information? There’s always elections.ca. Or just stroll into the office and ask.
You have no excuse not to.