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A Guide to Voting in Ontario's Provincial Election
If you are a Canadian citizen, you have the chance to choose who represents you in provincial politics. During a provincial election, your vote helps to choose the premier of Ontario.
In this Article
Can I vote?
To vote in an Ontario provincial election you must be:
- A Canadian citizen;
- 18 years old or older; and
- A resident of Ontario.
Refugee claimants, temporary and permanent residents cannot vote.
Can I vote if I have no fixed address or no home at all?
Yes, you can vote where you eat or sleep most often in the 5 weeks before the election.
How do I register to vote?
To vote, your name must be on the Voters List. The Voters List can have mistakes and sometimes names are missing from this list.
If you are on the Voters List, you will get a Notice of Registration card in the mail before election day. It tells you where to vote. Bring this card with you to the polling station (the place where you vote).
If you are not on the Voters List, you can add your name before or on election day.
How can I add my name to the Voters List before election day?
When can I vote?
You can vote:
- On election day;
- At an advance poll, before election day; or
- By special ballot (by mail or at a local office).
If you have less than 3 hours off during polling hours, your employer must give you time off to vote. They have to pay you for this time. They can choose when it is.
What documents do I need to vote?
To vote, you must show proof of your identity and where you live. You can show:
- 1 document that has your name, address and signature; or
- 1 document that has your name and signature, plus 1 document that has your name and address.
Get more information about acceptable proof.
If you cannot show acceptable proof, you can sign a statutory declaration to get a ballot.
What does the ballot look like?
The ballot looks like this:
The ballot is a list of names of all the candidates in your area and the political party they belong to. The ballot will have a white circle beside each candidate's name. Put an X in the circle next to the person you want to vote for.
You will go behind a screen so you can vote in private.
Give your ballot back to the poll official, and they will put your ballot in the ballot box. You are finished voting.
To make sure your vote counts, be careful not to spoil your ballot:
- Do not sign your name on the ballot.
- Write 1 "X" only.
- Do not write anything else on your ballot.
If you make a mistake while marking your ballot, you can get a new one.
Can I get help voting?
Yes, you can get help from a poll official, or a friend or relative. You can also bring a service animal into any voting location.
If you don't speak or read English, you can bring someone to translate or interpret for you. They can help you to show your identification and get your ballot. They must take an oath before they can help you.
Can I get help if I have special needs?
Elections Ontario has services for people with disabilities and special needs. For example, you may be able to vote at home. Find more information about services for voters with special needs.
Watch videos about voting in Ontario, including the assistive voting technology that is available. If you have questions or want to request a service, contact Elections Ontario.
Who am I voting for?
In a provincial election, you are voting for a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). Ontario has 107 MPPs.
Your vote also helps choose the premier of Ontario. The premier is the leader of the political party that has the most candidates elected. You do not vote for the premier directly (unless they are also the MPP for your riding).
What does the provincial government do?
The provincial government makes decisions about:
- Health care - Such as OHIP, hospitals and medical services
- Education - Elementary and secondary school, colleges and universities, job retraining programs
- Employment - Access to regulated professions and trades, workers' rights
- Transportation - Highways, driver's licences
- Services for families - Such as marriage and birth certificates, some child care services, low-cost housing, community services
- Some civil and criminal justice
How do I choose who to vote for?
Each candidate has different ideas about what is important, how to spend tax money, and how to solve problems. You need to decide what is important to you, and what you think is best for Ontario.
In an election period, the candidates will try to let people know what they think is important by distributing flyers, visiting door to door, speaking at community meetings, and getting stories in the newspaper or on the radio. Groups in your community may also organize an All Candidates Meeting where candidates from all the parties will come to speak and answer your questions.
You can also find out more about what candidates and their party think about issues by phoning their election offices or visiting their websites. Find contact information and the website addresses for all registered political parties in Ontario.
Who can I call if I have any questions about elections or voting?
Before the election, you can call or visit your returning officer. They make sure that the voters list is correct and that all the voting is done properly.
You can also contact Elections Ontario:
For More Information
- Elections Ontario - Elections Ontario organizes and conducts provincial elections in Ontario. It also provides information to voters about how, when, and where to vote.
- Voter Identification - Find out what kinds of identification you can use to vote.
October 15, 2015