There’s undeniable excitement in the air during an election year, and with the federal election coming up this fall, Canadians from coast to coast are getting ready to hit the polls and make their voices heard. Put simply, casting a ballot is our democratic right –– it’s one of the best ways for Canadians of all backgrounds to make a valuable contribution to our country.
In recent decades, there have been ongoing improvements to meet the needs of eligible electors with varying abilities. In partnership with Elections Canada, here are the tools and services that are available to assist electors.
Larger ballots with bigger fonts and voting template
There is a new ballot with a larger font for easy reading. The list of candidates is also available in large-print and braille on election day. You can also make use of magnifiers with a light that increases the print size on ballots up to four times.
On election day, visually impaired electors may also choose to use the tactile and braille voting template into which a voter can insert their ballot and use the braille numbers to find the circle next to their chosen candidate. Voters do not need to mark an ‘X’ for the vote to be valid, as long as the mark in the circle clearly identifies the voter’s choice and that only one circle is filled in.
Language assistance and sign language interpretation
Canada is a country of many languages. If you’re an elector in need of language assistance or sign language interpretation on election day, you can reach out to your local Elections Canada office after the election is called, but no later than six days before election day to arrange for an interpreter to meet you at your assigned polling station.
Accessible polling stations
Elections Canada strives to make sure polling stations are accessible to all––but it’s true that some buildings may be better equipped than others to serve those with disabilities. Polling stations are assessed based on the Accessibility Checklist that lays out 35 criteria, from the presence of handrails, ramps and automatic doors; to nearby transit access and the location of parking spaces for persons with disabilities. Each polling station has to meet a minimum of 15 essential criteria to be considered a suitable location for you to cast your vote.
If you are registered, the voter information card you’ll receive in the mail about two weeks before the election will identify the accessibility of your assigned polling station, but if you have any questions, you can contact Elections Canada for more details. If a location doesn’t meet your needs, you can discuss possible other arrangements with staff at the Elections Canada office in your riding.
Service animals allowed
If you have a disability, you can bring your service dog - no problem! If you need to bring a different service animal and you’re not sure if it will be permitted in your polling station, contact your Elections Canada office.
For many reasons, electors may need help marking their ballot. That’s why you can bring a friend or family member or ask a poll worker to help you. Anyone who assists a voter will be required to take an oath to ensure your vote remains secret.
Poll workers are also on hand at polling stations to help with things like opening doors, guiding electors to the correct table, and answering any questions you may have about the voting process. They can also assist with marking a ballot at the elector’s request. Whatever your need, Elections Canada workers are there to provide a smooth voting experience.
Elections Canada will also provide new tools and services to make voting more accessible at Elections Canada offices (including Vote on Campus offices), advance polls and on election day, including easy-grip pencils, and a signature guide to assist in signing a special ballot.
Find the official information you need to register and vote at Elections Canada.