Those looking to cast an early ballot for our next Member of Parliament can do so now. Advance polls for the Portage-Lisgar by-election open today and operate through Monday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
"You have to go to your assigned advanced polling station," explained Matthew McKenna, a spokesperson for Elections Canada. That information, he noted, can be found on your voter registration card that came in the mail in recent weeks. You can also visit the Elections Canada web site, type in your postal code, and the necessary information will pop up.
But what if you didn't get a voter registration card?
"It's no issue," said McKenna, adding you don't need to be registered in advance in order to cast your ballot. "You can do it right at the polls. So, if folks are worried, they can just show up and speak with one of the poll workers there and, if they're not yet registered, they'll be able to do it there on the spot."
You can also register on the Elections Canada web site; however, McKenna says it's likely too late to get your voter registration card mailed to you.
And what should you bring with you to the polling station?
"The most important thing is to bring proof of ID. You need to be able to prove your identity and address," explained McKenna. For most people, that's a driver's license or some other form of government-issued identification that has your picture and name on it. "As long as it's got your current address, you're good to go," he said.
Another option is to bring two pieces of ID, one of which must include your current address.
For those worried they may not be able to make it to the advance polls, McKenna says there is an Elections Canada office in Winkler where voters can submit a Special Ballot between now and Tuesday, June 13th at 6 p.m. The office is located at 777 Norquay Drive, and is open 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The by-election will determine who will next represent the constituents of Portage-Lisgar in the House of Commons in Ottawa. It was triggered when form Conservative MP, Candice Bergen, resigned earlier this year.
Candidates in the running, listed in order according to the Elections Canada website, are:
Max Bernier representing the People's Party of Canada; Nicolas Geddert for the Green Party of Canada; Branden Leslie for the Conservative Party of Canada; Kerry Smith for the Liberal Party of Canada and Lisa Tessier-Burch for the New Democratic Party.
By-election day is Monday, June 19th.
Written with files from Chris Sumner