June 2014 - Voting Made Easy!

“I don’t have time to vote today.”

“I have to pick up the kids.”

“I have to work.”

“All those politicians are the same anyway.”

These are just a few reasons why people don’t bother to vote. Some believe it will take too much time out of their busy schedule. They may not even think their vote matters.

But voting has never been easier, simpler and more important than ever before.

Voting only takes about half-an-hour. This includes the drive or walk to your poll station and marking your ballot. Most voting centres are just a few steps or a quick drive from your home.

If you are qualified to vote and your name is on the voters list, you have probably received Notice of Registration Card in the mail from Elections Ontario telling you where you are supposed to vote.

If you didn’t receive a Notice of Registration Card, then you need to bring some ID proving who you are. You can use a driver’s license, your health card, a birth certificate, or your social insurance card. If you don’t have any of these types of ID, you can even bring a bank or credit card bill with you. See all the different types of ID you can bring to the voting booth.

And if you expect to be busy on voting day or will be out of town, you can vote early. There are advance polls in every riding throughout the province. They are usually open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm from June 1 to June 6. If you would like to vote early, visit the Elections Ontario website to see where your nearest advance polls are located and when they are open.

If you are working, your boss is required by law to allow you to take a short break to vote. An employer who tries to stop you from voting can be fined $1,000 and even imprisoned.

If you moved to Canada from another country and are a Canadian citizen, you can vote.

Voting is a powerful tool for political change. No federal government over the past 70 years has dared to cut pension benefits for seniors. That’s because 75% of seniors vote and often candidates who dare to cut senior’s benefits will be punished at the polls.

Young Canadians, unfortunately, are the exact opposite. Perhaps the reason why governments have increased college and university tuition many times over the past 30 years is because a little over one-third of young Canadians even bother to vote. Ontario Conservative premier Mike Harris increased Ontario university tuition rates because he knew young voters wouldn’t bother to come out to the ballot box.

Now just imagine if every single unionized worker voted for candidates who pledged to defend your rights in the workplace? Conservative politicians like Tim Hudak would suffer the same fate as a politician who dared to temper with senior’s benefits.

And remember, voting is your right. Many people throughout the world are not allowed to vote, or they vote in rigged elections. Some people have been sent to prison fighting for fair elections and a free vote. So don’t take your vote for granted! Vote on Thursday, June 12!

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