Federal Election
Monday, October 21

FAQs – Polling stations

Behaviour in a polling station

Moving a polling station

Behaviour in a polling station

Can I vote wearing a face covering?

Should an elector arrive at a polling place with their face covered they may decide to remove their face covering so that an election officer may verify their identity and residence. However, if an elector with their face covered decides not to remove their face covering the elector will be required to make a solemn declaration that they are qualified to vote.

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Is it okay to use an electronic device inside a polling station?

In a polling station, electors, candidates and candidates' representatives may use an electronic device, such as a mobile phone, for certain purposes.

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

Electors with disabilities, in particular people with a visual impairment, may use a mobile device, such as a smart phone, to read their ballot behind the voting screen. Elections Canada does not guarantee the reliability of technology inside polling stations.

However, electors, 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

Poll workers may not use an electronic device inside the polling station, except as required by their job (for example, to call the Elections Canada office to request more supplies).

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May I share a photo of my marked ballot?

No. The vote is secret.

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 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 deputy returning officer (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?

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 in several ways:

  • If time permits, we mail an updated voter information card with the address of the new polling station.
  • We update our directory of polling stations.
  • We give the updated information to electors who contact us.
  • We inform electors through local media.
  • On polling days, we post 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 would move a polling station after we’ve sent the voter information cards which should arrive in electors' mailboxes by October 3. 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 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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