This is the easy part. If you are already registered to vote, you will be mailed a card indicating where and when you can vote. Or you can find out where to vote here. If you are not registered to vote, you can register to vote prior to election day, or you can bring two pieces of ID to any polling station on May 2nd to register and vote. If you are homeless and stay at a shelter, you can still vote by getting a shelter administrator to attest to your residence there. There really is no excuse not to vote.
Before you vote
Before voting, unless you are already part of a party, you'll want do some research. Here is a list of all the registered political parties with links to their web sites. It is also helpful to know who the candidates are in your riding in order to find out who was voted in last election, their stances on the major issues that are important to you and who is running against them. There is also voting strategy consider. Here are some helpful sites that can help sort through the issues:
* Council of Canadians -- Election coverage and resources from Canada's largest citizens' organization that acts for social, economic and environmental justice in Canada.
* Media Indigena -- Looks at Aboriginal election candidates, how each party's platform addresses Aboriginal issues and ridings to watch.
* Project Democracy -- A tool to help you determine if there is a way to "amp up" your vote and stop a Harper majority.
* Get Your Vote On -- Keeping you up to date with what's happening in the election and working on youth voter engagement.
*Open Media -- Addressing Internet freedom and making metered Internet proposals an election issue.
* Swing 33 -- links to the 33 ridings that were won by less than 5 per cent in 2008, and where Conservatives finished either first or second.
* Canadians for Tax Fairness -- A citizen-driven campaign organization that promotes fair taxation based on ability to pay.
* Canadians for Coalition -- A grassroots collective pressing for a stable federal government and collaborative parliament.
* Labour issues: Canadian Labour Council looks at how childcare and retirement are being addressed this election; Canadian Union of Public Employees has its own federal election site dealing with labour issues; Public Service Alliance of Canada focuses on the political rights of its members and the universal childcare issue; National Union of Public and General Employees examines Harper's anti-democratic behaviour.
* Know Harper -- A resource working to stop a Harper majority.
* My Voice Calgary -- An independent organization that seeks to empower Calgarians to take part in the city's affairs.
* Pundits' Guide to the Canadian Federal Elections -- A comprehensive, searchable federal election database.
Keep an eye on the news
The political landscape is always shifting, so following trusted sources about the campaigns is crucial. If you are on Twitter, this is a useful guide to help you navigate election hashtags. Here are some links that will keep you up-to-date on the election scene:
* rabble.ca -- but you knew that already.
* Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives -- An election blog designed to bring expert analysis and commentary on the issues that define the federal election.
* Imagine Canada Nonprofit Newswire -- A national charitable organization that supports and strengthens charities and nonprofits so they can, in turn, support Canadian communities.
* Democracy Watch -- A citizen organization supporting government accountability and democracy.
* Many are One -- Interviews with politicians from all parties, Canadian artists and industry thought leaders regarding youth engagement within the democratic process.
*Voices-Voix -- A non-partisan coalition of organizations and individuals defending democracy, free speech and transparency in Canada.
* Public Policy Forum -- An independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada through enhanced dialogue among the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Let's admit it. We're biased. If this election is about anything, it is about getting rid of the Harper Regime. Here are some things you can do to exercise democracy:
- Put some time into your preferred candidates campaign! Whether you have a few hours to spend on election day only -- or more time to help during the campaign -- no amount of time is too little. Here is how you can find your candidate's office.
- Get involved with your local labour campaign for the election, work at a polling station or with another third party organization that is trying to raise awareness about the election's issues and increase the voter turnout. Here are some possibilities:
* LeadNow -- A group building an independent community that works together to help set the political agenda, take effective action on important issues and shift elections.
* Apathy is Boring -- A site that uses art and technology to educate Canadian youth about democracy.
* Catch 22 Harper Conservatives -- A grassroots effort to help defeat the Harper Conservatives.
* Canadians Advocating Political Participation -- A grassroots network committed to improving Canadian democracy through information and engaged citizens.
* Fair Vote Canada -- A citizen group supporting proportional representation and government accountability.
* Equal Voice: Electing Women in Canada -- An organization of men and women advocating the election of more women in every level of government.
* Coffee Party -- An organic, non-partisan movement from Democracy Watch advocating political involvement.
- Talk to your friends and family about the election! Are all your friends, co-workers, classmates and family voting? Why not? Engage them in conversation and encourage them to vote.
- Download our weekly rabble rouser! This special election version of rabble has been prepared as a tool you can use to strike back against voter apathy. Print and distribute at rallies, leave copies in coffee shops, on campus, etc.
- Know of other organizations? Mention this in the comments section below and we'll be sure to update the list!
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