How to Vote
To be eligible to vote in an Ontario election, you must be:
- 18 years of age or older, and
- a Canadian citizen, and
- a resident of Ontario
Where you vote is determined by where you live. Your voting locations for advance voting and voting on election day are based on your address, which means you can only vote at the locations assigned to you.
If your name and address are on the Voters List, you will receive a Voter Information Card by mail. It will tell you:
- Your voting location on election day
- Your advance voting locations
- Your electoral district
- Your poll number
- Contact information for your returning office
If your name is not on the Voters List, or you do not receive a Voter Information Card, you can find out when and where to vote using our Voter Information service, which will become available after a general election or a by-election in your electoral district has been called. The Voter Information Service will tell you your voting locations for both advance voting and voting on election day, your electoral district, and contact information for your returning office.
There are many ways to vote in a general election or by-election. You can choose the option that works best for you. You can only vote once in an election.
There are three simple steps to making voting as easy as possible:
- Use e-Registration to check, update or register your voter information.
- Check your Voter Information Card when it arrives in the mail for details of when and where you can vote.
- Vote using one of the methods explained below.
To vote, you will need to bring identification that shows your name and residential address. If you are on the Voters List, bring your Voter Information Card and a piece of identification that shows your name. If you are not on the Voters List, bring a piece of identification that shows both your name and residential address.
Before election day at your returning office
You can choose to vote in person by special ballot at your local returning office from the day after the election is called until 6:00 P.M. (Eastern Time) the day before election day.
By special ballot
All eligible electors can vote by special ballot. There are several ways to do this:
- In person, at your returning office
- By mail
- By home visit if you have a disability and require assistance
- By hospital visit in participating hospitals during a general election only
Before election day at an advance poll
You can vote before election day by going to an advance voting location in your electoral district.
Typically, advance voting locations are open for 10 days during a general election and seven days during a by-election. Advance voting locations are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Advance voting locations are based on your electoral district. You may not vote at an advance voting location in another electoral district. During an election period, you can find your advance voting locations:
- by checking your Voter Information Card
- on our website
If you choose to vote at an advance poll, you will be asked to take an oath and sign a document to confirm you will vote only once.
On election day
You can vote in person on election day from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. (Eastern Time) at your assigned voting location. To find your voting location, check your Voter Information Card, use our Voter Information service, which will become available after a general election or by-election has been called, or contact us.
Marking your ballot
When you go to your voting location, an election official will present you with your ballot, which will include a list of candidates running for election in your electoral district. You will then go behind a voting privacy screen to mark your ballot. To vote for your chosen candidate, write an X in the circle beside their name.
If you make a mistake
If you have made a mistake and marked your ballot incorrectly, you may return the incorrectly marked ballot to the election official. The election official will cancel the ballot and reissue you a new ballot. The election official will then write “cancelled” on the back of the ballot. Cancelled ballots are not placed in the ballot box, and are not part of the official results.
Declining your ballot
Ontario’s election law allows voters to decline their ballot. To decline your ballot, tell the election official that you are declining your right to vote when they hand you a ballot. This is a public process and is done out loud. The election official will mark “declined” on the election documentation and your ballot will not be placed in the ballot box but in an envelope for declined ballots.
Declined ballots will be counted and reported after the polls close on election night and included in the official results as “declined ballots".