Casting a ballot on Oct. 21 requires one clear single mark next to a candidate name. (Langley Advance Times files)

When it comes to voting, x marks the spot

How to properly cast a ballot on election day, Oct. 21

Casting a ballot for the 2019 federal election is the single most important action of the entire democratic process – and it can be overwhelming to some who may be new to an area or have never even voted before.

Anrea Marantz, spokesperson for Election Canada, said there are a few steps and details people should know as they drop their vote into the ballot box.

“People really need to bear in mind that the federal election has assigned polling places. Voter info cards say right on them where people can cast their ballot,” Marantz explained.

“If you didn’t receive your voter card, people can visit www.elections.ca and put in their postal code,” she added. “If that’s not clear, call the local returning office.”

Cloverdale-Langley City’s Elections Canada office is located at the Langley Professional Building, 20316 56 Avenue, Suite 101.

The local returning officer is Keanu Howarth and people can phone 1-866-499-8026 to have their questions answered.

Langley-Aldergrove’s Elections Canada office is located at 8948 202 Street, Suite 10.

The local returning officer is Cathy Li and people can phone 1-866-545-0622 to have their questions answered.

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Once a person’s polling station is determined, Marantz said a valid ID is pertinent.

“When you go, take your driver’s license – it covers everything you need – a picture ID with address. If you don’t have one, bring two pieces of identification, both with your name and one with your address,” Marantz said.

An entire list or can be used as voter identification can be found here.

Pole numbers can be a confusing step, Marantz admitted, but once at the location, people will be there to direct people to the correct station.

“The station number is on people’s voter card. Then they’ll cross your name off and issue your ballot,” she added.

The mark made on the ballot is often a source of contention, but Marantz said the best way to have your vote count is to make your intentions clear.

“The ballot is simple, with candidates and their affiliated parties – that’s it. Make an x or a check… some people fill in the circle completely – but only one clear mark,” Marantz explained.

She added that if the mark is outside the circle, that could issue a challenge and discredit the ballot entirely.

“Don’t write anything – no political statement,” Marantz advised. “It doesn’t accomplish anything and is an ineffective protest.”

When it comes to the big moment of officially casting the ballot into the ballot box, Marantz said not to fold the paper too many times – one time is plenty.

People can do it themselves or give their ballot to the polling clerk to cast, she said, but they’ll guide you through the process to make sure it gets in that box.

”Don’t be discouraged by a line-up,” Marantz added. “You won’t be sent home if you’re still waiting in line at 7 p.m.”

Voting hours at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21.

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