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Snowbirds/Away From Home

If I am working or travelling away from home, where am I eligible to vote?

According to section 43 of the Election Act, an elector must vote in the polling subdivision of the electoral division in which the person is ordinarily resident on polling day.

An elector is considered to have only one place of ordinary residence, and it is defined as “the place where the person lives and sleeps and to which, when the person is absent from it, the person intends to return”. Therefore, if you temporarily live or work away from your place of ordinary residence, you must still vote in the electoral division in which you ordinarily reside.For example, this would apply to:

  • A construction worker from Edmonton working in Fort McMurray and living in temporary accommodations (a camp site, a motel, or an apartment) who ordinarily resides with his family in Edmonton. The worker would be eligible to vote in Edmonton.
  • A retired person from Pincher Creek traveling in another country who has been away for several months but intends to return after the extended holiday. The vacationer would be eligible to vote in Pincher Creek.

In all cases, the electors would have to meet the regular eligibility criteria.

How can I vote if I plan to be away on Election Day?

If you plan to be away on Election Day, you have two options:

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  • Option 1: You may vote at an advance poll.

    Advance polls are held from 9 am to 8 pm on the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to polling day. Addresses of advance polls are published in local newspapers and can also be obtained from returning officers or Elections Alberta’s website.

  • Option 2: You may vote using a Special Ballot.

    You must request a Special Ballot from the returning officer in your electoral division. The request – which must come from the elector – can be made as soon as the Writ of Election is issued. You can only request a special ballot if you are unable to vote at the advance polls or on polling day because you are:

    • physically incapacitated,
    • away from your electoral division,
    • serving as an inmate,
    • an election officer, candidate, official agent or scrutineer, or
    • living in a remote area, as defined in the Election Act.

    You may apply for a Special Ballot:

    • in writing,
    • by telephone,
    • by fax or by email,
    • in person, or
    • online.

    It is important to note that, while requests for Special Ballots may be sent via facsimile or email, the Special Ballots themselves may not. A Special Ballot sent via facsimile or email would be easily identifiable, and the basic principle of the secret ballot would be lost. For this same reason, you may not obtain a Special Ballot from anyone other than the returning officer in your own electoral division.

    Your Special Ballot must be properly completed and received, with identification, by the returning officer prior to the close of polls at 8 pm on polling day to be counted. Any Special Ballots received after the close of polls are counted as rejected ballots, meaning the vote will not be counted.

    Click here to view the Guide for use of the Special Ballot Poll.

Please be certain to consider these options well in advance of polling day – electors who have not made arrangements in time have been very disappointed when, for example, sufficient time is not left to receive and return a Special Ballot. The returning officer will do his or her best to accommodate your particular situation, but the request must be made by the elector in time to meet the administrative requirements of the electoral process.