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Key dates you need to remember for voting in the federal election

If you don't want to miss out a chance to vote, here are all the important deadlines you need to keep in mind
Aug. 27, 2021
Winston Szeto

There are many options for voters to cast their ballots, but each comes with a deadline. Here they are, so you won't miss the opportunity to get your voice heard.

If you want to vote in-person, the election day of Sept. 20 is a possibility, but you may also choose to vote at an advance polling station between Sept. 10--13, or at an Elections Canada office from now through Sept. 14.

If you wish to vote by mail, you should apply for this process by Sept. 14, and have your vote delivered to the return address printed on your mail-in voting kit by Sept. 20.

Sept. 20: In-person voting on election day

For voters who wish to physically visit a local polling station and cast their ballots on the election day of Monday, Sept. 20, each polling station is open for 12 hours -- but those hours vary by time zone:

Newfoundland time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Atlantic time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Eastern time zone: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Central time zone: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Mountain time zone: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Pacific time zone: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

All the ways you can vote in the 2021 federal election

Elections Canada says the exact voting hours as well as the assigned polling station address will be printed on the voter information cards mailed to voters, and will soon be published on Elections Canada's voter information service portal.

Sept. 10-13: In-person voting on advance polling days

Advance voting could be done on any one of the following four dates from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time:

Friday, Sept. 10.

Saturday, Sept. 11.

Sunday, Sept. 12.

Monday, Sept. 13.

Those who opt for advance voting should go to the advance polling place that's specified on the voter information cards and Election Canada's voter information service portal.

Elections Canada notes that advance polling places will be fewer than election day voting stations. 

Sept. 14: Deadline of in-person voting at Elections Canada offices

Elections Canada has promised it will soon open more than 500 offices across the country for people who want to vote with a special ballot -- which doesn't list the candidates for a particular riding, but instead allows the voters to write their selection's name in a blank space.

If you want to vote at Elections Canada offices, you can drop into any one of them -- even one located outside of your riding -- to receive and cast the special ballot by Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. local time.

Elections Canada offices will open seven days a week during the following hours in local time:

Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday: noon to 4:00 p.m.

Sept. 14: Deadline for applying for mail-in voting

Whether in Canada or abroad, those who wish to vote by mail must apply online by Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. ET, or by contacting any local Elections Canada office by Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. local time.

If you will send out the marked ballot while you're within your own riding, it must be delivered to a local Elections Canada office by the time the polls close in that riding on Sept. 20.

If you're abroad or still in Canada but outside of your riding, the marked ballot must be delivered to Elections Canada in Ottawa by Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. ET.

Elections Canada reminds voters to think twice before applying to vote by mail -- once the mail-in special ballot application is approved, you won't be able to vote with a regular ballot at advance polls or on the election day.