The federal election is fast approaching and dates and polling locations in Terrace are set.
But for those unable to vote between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 2, election day, there are advanced polling dates and locations and also a special ballot voting option.
For residents who plan to mark their ballot on election day, a number of locations in Terrace have been confirmed. Veritas Catholic School, the Birch Building at Northwest Community College, Elks Hall and Thornhill Community Centre will all have polling stations set up.
Registered voters can vote only at their assigned location on election day.
Those who are curious about their specific location can check the back of their voter information card.
The cards were sent out by mail as of April 6. If residents did not received their card by April 13, or the information on their card is incorrect, they are encouraged to call or visit Elections Canada, located in the Skeena Mall, (866) 271 5377.
And if people are unsure of whether or not they are registered, or did not receive their voter information card, the local office can help with that too.
“This is a time when people should update their information, it’s the revision period,” said Susan Friend, spokesperson for Elections Canada. “And, this is also a time to register.”
Anyone wanting to register or update has until 6 p.m. April 26 to call or visit the local office.
And for those who can’t vote on election day, there are a couple of options.
First, advanced polling dates have been scheduled on Friday April 22, Saturday April 23 and Monday April 26 from noon until 8 p.m., at the Elections Canada office in the Skeena Mall.
“If [you] attend, [you] cannot attend another polling session,” said Brian Roberts, the returning federal elections officer for the Skeena Bulkley Valley.
Roberts explained advanced polling doesn’t require special registration or permission.
However, those wishing to apply by special ballot do need to fill out an application form.
Special ballot voting can be done in person at the office of any returning officer or sent in by mail.
Special ballot votes are ideal for those who will be away from their local polling station during scheduled dates and times.
“What you need to do is phone your [local Elections Canada] office or go [there],” said Friend. “And you need the same kind of ID as you would to vote.
“You can actually vote right there and then,” she said. “Or, you can take your package away, vote at home and mail it in.”
But should voting by special ballot be the option that suits someone best, Friend noted there are a few things to remember.
“You have to register by 6 p.m. April 26,” she said. “And you have to know the names of the candidates.”
For special ballots, there are no party names included. Only the name of a Candidate will be accepted as a vote.
“Anyone who is not sure of their candidates can look at the list or phone a political party,” she said, adding that in order for a mailed ballot to be accepted, it must reach the Elections Canada office in Ottawa by 6.p.m eastern time, which is three hours ahead.
“If you register to vote by special ballot, you cannot vote in any other way because it will be noted that you have taken a ballot away,” she said.
And regardless of what voting method people choose, they will need to identify themselves at the polls.
There are three ways to do this.
The first is to bring a copy of government issued ID, either a diver’s license of B.C. ID card.
The second is to bring two original pieces of authorized ID, both must have a name and one an address. For example, a BC health card and a hydro bill.
The third option involves swearing an oath. To do this, a voter must be accompanied by someone they know, and this person needs authorized identification and must be from the same polling division. This person can only vouch for one person. Both will be required to sign a sworn statement.