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Canadians heading to the polls to choose next federal government

Listen to CityNews Ottawa for all your election results from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. on 101.1FM or 1310AM with your host Jason White.
voter ballot 2021
A voter casts their ballot in the advance polls, Friday, September 10, 2021, in Chambly, Que. Canadians will vote in a federal election on September 20.

Canada’s first-ever pandemic election culminates today as Canadians from coast to coast go to the polls to choose the 338 members of Parliament to sit in the House of Commons.

Elections Canada says almost 6.8 million people voted early, most of them at advanced polls over a week ago, and the rest through special ballots cast by mail or at Elections Canada offices.

A majority of Canada’s more than 30 million eligible voters will mark their ballots Monday. 

Elections Canada encourages voters to wear masks but only requires them in places where they are mandated by provincial rules. Proof-of-vaccination regulations do not apply at polling stations in any province where they currently exist.

Polling stations are open for 12 hours, but the opening times vary by region, starting as early as 7 a.m. PST in British Columbia and as late as 9:30 a.m. EDT in Ontario and most of Quebec.

In Ottawa, Smiths Falls, and The Valley, the polls are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

To vote, you must be at least 18 years old, be a Canadian citizen and prove your identity and address. 

If you have a voter's card, bring that to the polling station listed on the card, along with your ID. 

Approved pieces of ID include a driver's license or other Canadian government-issued ID with your photo, name and current address. This includes ID issued by federal, provincial, or local government. 

Without a government-issued ID, you can show two pieces of ID with your name and one must have your current address. According to Elections Canada, this includes a voter information card and bank statement, or utility bill and student ID card.

More information on how to vote without ID and a list of acceptable documents are available here

If you're unsure of where to vote, you can find your polling station on elections.ca.

For health and safety at the polls, there are COVID-19 measures in place. At polling locations, Elections Canada says there will be hand sanitizing stations, physical distancing markers, only one poll worker per desk and staff will be wearing masks.

Voters will need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Single-use pencils will be available to mark the ballot or people can bring their own pen or pencil.

Visit our dedicated election page for more coverage of the federal election.

Most riding winners will be known by the end of the evening, but Elections Canada is also warning it could take up to four days to finish counting all the special ballots, meaning some close races may not have official winners for several days.

Listen to CityNews Ottawa online, on your smart speaker, or on your radio at 101.1FM or 1310AM for your comprehensive election coverage between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. 

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