Federal Election Monday, September 20

FAQs – Polling stations

Behaviour in a polling station

Moving a polling station

Behaviour in a polling station

Can I vote wearing a mask or face-covering?

Yes. Electors can vote wearing a mask or face-covering as long as they prove their name and address using one of the three options.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, an elector may vote with their face covered by establishing proof of their identity and residence under any of the three ID to vote options. An elector is not required to remove their face-covering when establishing proof of their identity and residence.

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Is it okay to use an electronic device or mobile phone inside a polling place?

Voters, candidates and candidates' representatives may use an electronic device such as a mobile phone in a polling place for certain purposes.

For example, voters may use their mobile device to show proof of identity and address documents issued electronically (such as e-statements or e-invoices).

Voters with disabilities, in particular people with a visual impairment, may use a personal mobile device such as a smart phone to read their ballot behind the voting screen. If they take a photo of their marked ballot, they must delete it immediately after voting—certain conditions apply. Candidates may take pictures of Sequence Number Sheets after the polls close.

Otherwise, inside the voting room, voters, candidates and candidates' representatives may not:

  • be disruptive
  • take photos
  • make an audio or video recording
  • jeopardize the secrecy of the vote or the privacy of voters

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May I share a photo of my marked ballot?

No. The vote is secret. It is illegal to show a photo of a marked ballot.

If people were allowed to show how they voted, they could be forced to vote in a certain way or votes could be bought.

If you're enthusiastic about voting and want to share your experience with your friends, take a photo of yourself outside of the polling station.

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What's the role of candidates' representatives? What are the rules about what they can and can't do?

Candidates and candidates' representatives (scrutineers) are allowed to observe the election process to ensure the integrity of the vote.

They must follow the Guidelines for Candidates' Representatives, which explains what they can and cannot do.

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Are candidates' representatives allowed to handle my ID?

No. Candidates' representatives may not touch your ID; they may only look at it.

Only the election officer hired to process electors at your polling station is allowed to touch your ID.

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Moving a polling station

If a polling station is moved at the last minute, how does Elections Canada inform electors of the move?

Elections Canada tells people where to vote by mailing a personalized voter information card to each registered elector. In the rare case that a polling station must be moved after we've sent voter information cards, Elections Canada informs electors of the move in several ways:

  • If time permits, we mail an updated voter information card with the address of the new polling station. The replacement card is yellow and has the words "Replacement Card" in bold letters.
  • We update our directory of polling stations.
  • We give the updated information to electors who contact us.
  • We inform electors about the move through local media.
  • On polling days, we assign staff at the old polling station and have them direct electors to the new one.

By law, Elections Canada is also required to notify political parties and candidates of polling locations and any changes.

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How common is it for Elections Canada to move a polling station at the last minute?

It is very rare that we move a polling station after we’ve sent the voter information cards. We move polling stations only in exceptional situations—for example, if there is a fire at the original polling station.

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I got a call, email or text saying that my polling station has moved. What should I do?

Be wary. Elections Canada does not call, email or text electors about where to vote or about moving a polling station. If we move a polling station, we inform electors about the move in other ways.

If you've been told your polling station has moved, please check the information: contact Elections Canada or use our Voter Information Service to verify your polling station.

If you receive incorrect information about where or when to vote, please contact us to report it.

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