Voting for the first time can be intimidating. Not to worry though because we have you covered on things to know before heading to the voting station! For those of you who will be voting in the upcoming Ward 12 by-election in Edmonton, it is important to know ahead of time what the voting process looks like and how to make an informed decision on who to vote for. Here are a few important things to know about voting in this by-election:
The election takes place on February 22, 2016, and there will be seven voting stations open between the hours of 9am-8pm. Knowing what station to go to depends on your address, and luckily the City of Edmonton has provided a link where you can type in your address and it will let you know where to cast your ballot. Each household is matched to a station in the same area so make sure you go to the right one!
Don't worry if you can't make it to a voting station on election day. You can vote in advance! Early voting will take place on February 8, 9, 10, and 11 but will only have one voting station running. It will take place at The Meadows Community Recreation Centre and will be open from 10am-7pm on all four days. Be sure to take advantage of this if you know you won't be able to make it on election day. The City also offers special (mail in) ballots. For more information you can call the City of Edmonton Elections Office at 780-442-8683 or visit the City of Edmonton website.
When you go to vote, make sure you bring identification that contains your name and current residential address. This is important because it lets workers know that you are who you say you are, that you live in Ward 12, and are at the correct voting location. Most people bring a driver's license, but there is a long list of acceptable forms of identification. First time voters will often make the mistake of bringing a form of identification that is not accepted because it does not have their address on it, such as a passport. Be sure you do not make this mistake, as you will be turned away.
- Do your research on all the candidates so you can make an informed decision on who to vote for. There are currently 32 candidates in the running, and while that may seem like a lot, with a bit of research you should be able to narrow it down. The City of Edmonton has provided a list of all the candidates, along with their contact information and links to their websites so you can easily research them. If you are looking for a quick summary of each candidate to get you started, the Edmonton Journal and CBC News Edmonton have each also put together an excellent package to help voters. Deciding which candidate to vote for can be challenging but is a crucial part of civic engagement, so do some research and go with the candidate you feel will benefit you and your community the most.
Ultimately, just remember to plan ahead so that you have time put aside to go vote and know where to go come election day. Also, research your candidates so you can make an informed decision about who best represents the interests of the people of Ward 12. If you have questions about candidates or the voting process you can visit the City of Edmonton website for more information.