Your Quebec election tool kit: where to vote, what to bring and why you should bother

·4 min read
With week one of Quebec's election campaign down, here's a few thing Quebecers should know before heading to the polls Oct. 3.  (Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada - image credit)
With week one of Quebec's election campaign down, here's a few thing Quebecers should know before heading to the polls Oct. 3. (Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Quebec's 43rd general election is just around the corner, and you may be wondering what that means for you.

Here are answers to some key questions about the big day to ensure you're eligible and well-equipped to cast your vote.

Am I eligible to vote? 

Canadian citizens 18 and older who have lived in Quebec for at least six months can vote.

But make sure you're registered.

You can't vote unless your name is on the list of electors. You can check that your name is registered online. If your name is not listed, or if you find an error, you can register or fix it now.

You have until Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. ET to rectify the situation.

When is the election?

Quebec's 43rd provincial election is Oct. 3. Polling stations are open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A law on fixed-date elections, adopted in 2013, made the default election day the first Monday of October every four years, while also setting the campaign length to vary between 33 and 39 days. Premier François Legault launched this one Aug. 28, making it a 36-day campaign.

Is there advanced voting?

Election day isn't the only day you can cast your ballot. There are seven other days on which you can vote:

  • In advance: Sept. 25, and Sept. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At the returning officer's office:

  • Sept. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Sept. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Sept. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Sept. 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Sept. 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What riding do I live in?

Electoral maps change over the years. To know your own riding, type in your postal code on this page of the Élections Québec website.

What do I need to bring with me to vote? 

You must have one of these pieces of ID:

  • Driver's licence.

  • Health insurance card.

  • Canadian passport.

  • Certificate of Indian Status.

  • Canadian Armed Forces identity card.

Tip: Bring your notice of entry or yellow reminder card to expedite your voting process.

Élections Québec
Élections Québec

Can I vote outside of Quebec? 

If you'll be temporarily outside of the province on Oct. 3, you can vote by mail.

You'll have to register though. You have until Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET to make your request online on the Élections Québec website.

Who's running?

The five major political parties running are:

Two new parties who made their political debuts and are vying for anglophone, minority and Montreal votes are:

CBC Montreal has extensive coverage about the different political parties and where they stand on issues that matter most to you.

Take the quiz to see which party's values align most with yours using CBC's Quebec Vote Compass.

Will COVID-19 affect the voting process?

Élections Québec says it is closely monitoring the evolution of COVID-19. As it stands, mask-wearing is still only mandatory in settings like hospitals and long-term care homes.

People who are at risk of developing complications from a COVID infection or who are self-isolating due to the virus can vote by mail.

What do first-time voters need to know? 

According to Élections Québec spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet, it's important for first-time voters to keep in mind that they won't be voting for who they want as premier on their ballots — they will be voting for candidates.

She said for those who might feel intimated by the election, it's a good idea to check which candidates are running in their riding and focus on the individual that is presenting a party.

"Maybe focus on an issue that is particularly important — environment, education, economics," she said.

She also said it's important that all electors stay informed by keeping up with media coverage or visiting websites of political parties.

Why should I bother voting? 

For some, voting can be viewed as too much of a hassle or a useless exercise. Others might think their vote won't make a difference among the sea of ballots.

But your individual vote lets you express your opinion on the issues that are important to you and the decisions that affect your day-to-day life.

Your vote allows you to contribute financially to help the candidate or political party whose values align with yours, because each vote has a financial value.

Voting also preserves the vitality of our democracy and your right to choose who represents you.

"Sometimes electors ... think voting is for rich people or educated people or intellectuals," said Drolet.

"It's so important for us to make democracy accessible and to give the perception that everybody is concerned and everybody has access and can vote.