How to be an informed voter

I you want to be heard, you need to get out and vote. But make sure you know what the candidates think of the issues important to you.

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Four years have passed since 2015, meaning that on Monday, Oct. 21, Canadians will head to their polling stations to vote in the federal election. If this is your first time, voting can seem daunting, but don’t worry, with these few tips you’ll be ready to hit the polls.

Where/when/how to vote

The first step in being election-ready is to make sure you’re registered to vote through Elections Canada. You can check your registration status online here. If you’re not registered, you can do it on the Elections Canada website (if you do it by October 15, you’ll receive a voter information card in the mail with information about your designated polling area), or you can do it in person at your local polling station on election day.

Once you’re registered, you have a couple options on how to vote. The first option, obviously, is to vote at a polling station on election day. However, if you don’t think you’ll be able to make it on October 21 or don’t want to wait, you can alternatively head to your designated advanced polling location on advanced polling days of October 11 to October 14. Another alternative is to vote by mail.

Read the party platforms

Now that you know how to vote, you’ll need to decide who you want to vote for. The best way to make an educated choice is to get familiar with every party’s platform. There are some great resources out there that compares each party’s platform on specific topics, such as this tool from CBC News, this one by Maclean’s, and this one by BNN Bloomberg.

If you’d rather read up on each platform in detail, each party has a published report you can take a look at. Here are the main four:

Watch the results

Polling stations in Atlantic Canada close at 8:30pm and results start to come in shortly after. You can watch live coverage of the election results on any major Canadian TV station or check a real-time tally of the results online.