A Guide to Voting - ABC Life Literacy Canada



A Guide to Voting - ABC Life Literacy Canada
A Guide to Voting:
a Literacy Practitioner Workbook
for Voting in the 2015 Federal Election
Civic Literacy and Voting:
Why does it matter?
How to use this booklet
We created this resource to help you engage your adult learners in civic literacy in
advance of the October 2015 federal election. The information, links and suggested
activities will help you talk to your students about why voting is important and how they
can participate.
A Guide to Voting is designed to be used by you, the instructor: use it to gather
information or copy and distribute pages of the booklet at your discretion. Each page
includes links for more information. We have also included a step-by-step activity at the
end of the booklet to help you have your own practice election in the classroom or at
home. Practice elections are really the best way to familiarize learners with the process
of elections and build confidence and engagement in the process.
Are you looking for more information?
Visit the Elections Canada website at www.elections.ca for more materials and links to
help your learners navigate the 2015 elections. You can also contact your provincial or
territorial government, your municipal government, and civic action organizations in
your community.
Have fun, and let us know what you think about A Guide to Voting: a Literacy
Practitioner Workbook for Voting in the 2015 Federal Election.
Please share your questions or comments with:
Carissa Di Gangi
Programs Specialist, Community
ABC Life Literacy Canada
110 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 604
Toronto, ON M4P 2Y1
416-218-0010 x 130
1-800-303-1004 x 130
[email protected]
A Guide to Voting
What is civic literacy?
Civic literacy is the knowledge and skills you need
to participate in making change in your community.
In Canada, this includes:
Knowing how the government works
Rights and responsibilities of citizens and
elected members of government
When you have strong civic literacy skills, you know
how to make your voice heard by all levels of
government—before, during and after an election.
We want every Canadian to vote, and
every person to let the country know
their beliefs, needs and wants.
Voting Words
In elections, when you
choose a person to
represent your wishes,
ideas or beliefs in the
The formal process of
choosing a person to
represent you in the
How voting works
Voting in an election is the process of selecting a
candidate who will speak for you in the government.
When you vote, you are choosing a candidate that you
think will best represent you and your wishes. Often
this person is a member of a political party.
Every vote is important. Even if the candidate you
choose does not win, your vote shows all Canadians
what is important to you and your community. This
can help shape the government’s decisions.
In Canada, we vote in elections at the municipal,
provincial/territorial, and federal level. This workbook
will help you understand:
Voting Words
A person who is running
for an elected position.
political party
An organization of people
with similar goals who
work together to be
elected and help make
decisions in government.
Why you should vote
How to register to vote
How federal elections work
How to vote
A Guide to Voting
Why vote?
Voting is one way to make sure that your voice is
heard when the government is determining what’s
important and what’s not to Canadians.
A Place for Your Notes
Do you care about any of these things?
Health care
Human rights
Members of government determine how much money
or funding these areas get, and what laws apply to
them. When you vote for an individual or a political
party, you’re saying that you agree with their values
and their vision for Canada. With your vote, that
candidate and the political party they represent are
more likely to win and put those values and ideas into
Sometimes, a political candidate wins an election by
only a few votes.
Every vote counts—make sure
yours is one of them!
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
A History of the Vote in Canada
Information on how voting has changed over the course of Canadian history.
A Guide to Voting
How federal elections work
In Canada, any citizen 18 years old or older can vote in
a federal election. You vote for a candidate to
represent your riding. The candidate who gets the
most votes becomes your Member of Parliament
(MP). They’ll represent you in the House of Commons,
where they’ll decide on federal laws.
Candidates are usually part of a political party.
Members of a political party share similar views on
how to make Canada better. Each party has a leader.
The leader of the party with the most candidates
elected becomes the Prime Minister.
Voting Words
A geographic area of the
country that could be a
community, region or town
that has a candidate
representing it in the
Member of Parliament (MP)
The elected candidate for
a federal riding.
House of Commons
The 338 elected members
of parliament.
A Place for Your Notes
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
The Electoral System of Canada
A document for teachers that outlines Canada’s political system and how elections are called,
funded, and run.
Maps Corner
Explore for printable maps of Canada’s electoral districts.
A Guide to Voting
How to register to vote
In order to vote in Canada, you need to register with
Elections Canada. Registering is letting Elections
Canada know who you are and where you live so that
you are voting in the right riding, and you are only
voting once.
If you voted in the last election and haven’t moved
since then, you’re probably already registered. But if
you’ve moved, have never voted before, or are living
away from home for school, your voter information
could be out of date.
Save time on Election Day by making sure you’re
registered ahead of time. Visit
www.elections.ca/register to double-check or
update your address information. Just enter your
name, birth date, and address. You will see a message
that tells you if you are registered or not. If you aren't,
the website will give you a few options for how to
register: online, by mail, or in person. Soon after the
election is called, Elections Canada will send you a
voter information card in the mail that tells you when
and where to vote.
Voting Words
The process of adding your
name to an official list of
polling place
A location where you vote
on Election Day. It’s often a
school or community
A Place for Your Notes
Can’t register ahead of time or don’t
want to? That’s fine. Bring the right
ID with you to your polling place,
and you can register right there on
Election Day. It just takes a little bit
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
Get ready to vote
A checklist on getting registered before election day.
A Guide to Voting
Methods for voting
You can vote four different ways:
1. On Election Day at your polling place
2. Ahead of time on an advance voting day
3. At a local Elections Canada office
4. By mail
Most people vote on Election Day. You go to a building
called a polling place—it’s someplace in your
neighbourhood, like a school, community centre, or
apartment building. All polling places are open for 12
hours on Election Day.
How do you know where
your polling place is?
It’s on your voter
information card, which
you get in the mail if you’re
registered to vote. You can
also find your polling place
by going to
www.elections.ca, or calling
1-800-463-6868. All you
need is your postal code.
You can also vote ahead of time:
On an advance voting day. There are now four
of them, and they have their own polling
places too. Polling places are open from noon
until 8pm.
At a local Elections Canada office. You can do
this until the Tuesday before the election.
By mail. Visit www.elections.ca to apply to
receive a voting kit. It will come to you in the
mail. Send the kit back to Elections Canada
with your vote and copy of your ID. Remember
to send it early enough so that it gets to
Elections Canada by Election Day.
A Place for Your Notes
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
FAQs on Voting
It covers your rights as an employee to vote, and how employers must give you enough time to vote.
A Guide to Voting
Types of identification needed to vote
On Election Day, you need to bring identification (ID)
with you to the polling place. You need ID even if you
have registered to vote. If your ID doesn’t show your
current address, then someone who knows you can
confirm where you live – like your neighbour or your
Have one of these pieces of ID?
Driver’s license
Provincial or territorial ID card
Any other government ID with your
photo, name and address
Then you’re good to go! It’s the only thing you need to
bring to the polling place.
What if I don’t have a
document with my address
on it?
Don’t worry! Bring two
pieces of ID with your name
on them, and a neighbour
who can confirm where you
live. Your neighbour also
needs to bring their photo
ID with their name and
address and they have to
be registered at the same
polling place as you. They
can only vouch for one
If you don’t have one of the IDs above, don’t worry!
Bring two other pieces of ID. One must be an ID with
your name on it. It could be:
Health card
Debit card
Your Name
Current Address
Library card
Another ID with your name
The other has to be a document with your name and
your address on it. It could be:
A Place for Your Notes
A lease
A utility bill
A letter from a school
Another document with your
name and address
Tip: Get your bills online? No problem! You can show
it to an election worker on your phone!
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
Have your ID ready
A list of the many types of ID and documents that you can bring to a polling place.
A Guide to Voting
What happens at polling places
Voting is a fun way to let the country hear your voice,
but it can feel like a challenge that first time. There will
be many election workers there to help you out.
Election workers are there to help you, not promote or
encourage you to vote for a candidate or political party.
They are your friends and neighbours, and you can ask
them anything!
Here is what you do at a polling place on Election Day:
Head right into the polling place. An election
worker will be there to say hello and direct you to
the right table.
An election worker at your table will ask for ID to
prove who you are and where you live. They will
check your name on the voters list if you were
registered, or add your name to it if not.
They’ll write their initials on a ballot, fold it and
hand it to you.
Take your ballot behind a voting screen. Mark the
candidate you want to vote for. Fold your ballot
back up.
Head back to the election worker who gave you
your ballot. They’ll take it, tear off a tab, and hand
it back to you.
Have kids or other family
members who are not
voting yet?
Take them with you to see
our electoral process in
action and help them
understand the importance
of voting. It’s a great
teaching opportunity for
you and your community.
DOE, John
DOE, Sandra
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique
UNTEL, Pierre
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique
A Place for Your Notes
Put your ballot in the box at the table.
You’re done!
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
Vote in 6 steps.
An infographic.
A Guide to Voting
Accessibility in the voting process
Polling places have tools and services to make sure
voting is accessible to you. Every vote and every
person is important to our elections, and Elections
Canada works to make voting available to all
When you get to your polling place, you can expect:
Voting Words
When a service or product
is available to people with
special needs.
An automatic door opener, or an election
worker who can help you out.
A Place for Your Notes
A tactile and Braille voting template that fits
on top of a ballot
Large-print lists of candidates
Assistance marking your ballot
Want a Braille list of candidates?
It will be available at your polling place
on Election Day.
Want sign language interpretation?
Call TTY 1-800-361-8935 | 1-800-463-6868
ahead of time to make sure it happens.
Can’t leave home and don’t want to vote by mail?
Call 1-800-463-6868. Elections Canada can send
an election worker to your home so you can
vote there.
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
For information on additional accessibility tools and services.
A Guide to Voting
Suggested Activities
Find your electoral district on elections.ca. How many
districts are represented by your learners? Look at
the maps of each district. Are the borders surprising?
Who are the current Members of Parliament for the
districts of everyone in your class? Go online to find
their websites. What causes are they fighting for?
How many political parties can your students name?
Look up political parties online as a group. What
makes them different? What things do they agree on?
Have a bunch of cue cards or sheets of paper with an
ID or document type written on them. As a group or
in teams, find combinations you could use to take to
a polling place.
Stage a practice election. Set up your classroom to
look like a polling place, with desks and shielded
stations for voting. Create practice ballots. Have
students and instructors take turns acting as election
workers and voters. Go to pages 11–12 for more
information on running a practice election.
If you have time, kick off the vote with a practice election campaign. Have a
few of your students run as candidates: they can create platforms and
political parties, and even make signs and slogans. After the votes from the
rest of the class have been tallied, it’s a good excuse for a celebration party.
For more information, check out the following resources at www.elections.ca:
Canada at the Polls
Additional Resources.
A Guide to Voting
Practice Election
Ahead of Election Day
Make a Voters List
Add each learner to a voters list. If possible, have them register
officially through producing the proper ID listed on Page 7. This list
will serve as your official voters list for the election. Have learners
identify any accessibility challenges they feel are important to
allowing each and every voter to participate in the election.
Create Political Parties and Candidates
Divide learners into three or more diverse groups, and have them
create their own political parties. Each party should work as a team
to establish what is important to them, and to build the policies,
culture and beliefs that will be their platform for the election.
Host Candidate Speeches/Presentations
Each political party selects a representative to act as their party
leader, who will be the candidate in this practice election. Each
party leader then presents their party’s positions and ideas to the
voters list/class. Encourage speakers to share what makes them
different from the other parties.
Discuss and Debate
Ask the class to consider who (and what political party) they feel
best represents what is important for them and who they would
like to vote for. Stress that they can vote for any candidate.
Prepare the Ballots
Have a few learners or your staff be election workers and create
the ballots. List each candidate and their political party. Fold each
ballot so the candidate names are hidden. Use the example ballots
on Page 13 to guide you. Make enough ballots for all your learners,
plus a few extras.
Prepare the Polling Place
Every election needs a place to vote. To set up your polling place,
you will need a voters list, a ballot box, folded ballots, and an
election worker or two to manage the process. (We recommend the
instructor(s) fill the election worker roles). You can use any
enclosed container for the ballot box. Ensure voters can make their
selection in private.
A Guide to Voting
Practice Election
Each voter comes forward individually to the polling place
and states their name (if possible, with proof of ID).
The election worker checks their name off from the voters
list, and hands the voter a folded ballot.
The voter takes the ballot to a private area and marks their
chosen candidate with a pencil.
The voter refolds the ballot and returns it to the election
worker. (In Canada’s elections, a part of the ballot is
removed at this point, but for this activity you can skip that
part.) The election worker hands the ballot back to the voter.
The voter places the ballot in the ballot box.
Continue through all voters, and you’re done!
Count the Votes
If the voter makes a
mistake, they can
request a new
ballot—but they can
only do that once.
Remove ballots from the ballot box.
Call out the selected candidate on each ballot, and record
the votes on a separate piece of paper.
Pile ballots by each candidate’s name for counting and
double-checking. Have a separate pile for invalid ballots.
Announce the winner, and celebrate with your new
political leader!
If more than one
candidate is
selected, the ballot
is invalid and is not
A sample of a ballot
DOE, John
DOE, Sandra
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique
You can follow this activity with class
discussion on civic literacy and the
importance of voting.
Thank the class for their
participation in this important
responsibility, and encourage them
to vote in the 2015 Federal Election.
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique
UNTEL, Pierre
Political Affiliation/Appartenance politique

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