TORONTO, Ont. - With Ontario gearing up for a provincial election Oct. 10, and Newfoundland just one day earlier, it's time for professional drivers to give some thought to how they intend to vote. It...
TORONTO, Ont. – With Ontario gearing up for a provincial election Oct. 10, and Newfoundland just one day earlier, it’s time for professional drivers to give some thought to how they intend to vote. It’s not always easy to vote in an election when you spend much of your life on the road.
But there are ways to overcome distance-related challenges. And if you don’t make the effort, then you really shouldn’t be complaining about the political ‘powers that be’ after the fact, says London, Ont.-based driver, Peter Nelson.
“So many guys are always sitting around the coffee shop bitching about stuff and saying they can’t change things, but part of changing things is knowing how to vote,” Nelson said in a recent interview with Truck News. “There’s a lack of education as to what their options are for having their say. If more truck drivers were aware of the different ways they can cast their ballot and still work and make a living, the chances are more guys will vote and they’ll be more active instead of gathering around the table at the coffee shop bitching.”
Nelson, who has been a professional driver for 15 years, has always managed to find a way to vote. (Well, except for that one time his Manitoba municipality decided to do away with advanced polling – but don’t get him started on that).
He says he is bothered by the apathy and lack of voting that occurs within Canada’s driving community, especially when hot button items such as speed limiters, hours-of-service regulations and highway funding are at stake.
“We could have some input on the way laws come down if they realized truckers were voting,” he said.
For starters, you can plug in your name and address to make sure you’re on the voter’s list. This will save you time when you do make it to the polling stations. If it’s not on the list, don’t worry, you can fill out some forms at the polling station and still cast your ballot. Proof of identification is required.
A popular voting method for professional drivers is the use of advanced polls. Drivers can vote before Election Day by visiting the advanced polls in their electoral district.
Those votes are counted on Election Day, along with all other ballots.
The Elections Web sites previously mentioned list the advanced polling stations. Time is running out for this method, however, with advanced polling stations in Ontario closing on Oct. 4 and in Newfoundland Oct. 2.
Failing that, drivers who find themselves heading out of the province on Election Day can vote by proxy, or have someone else cast their vote on their behalf.
To do this, you must sign an Application to Vote by Proxy and provide identification.
Your signature must be witnessed by someone other than the person you are appointing to vote for you.
Your proxy (the qualified elector appointed to vote for you) brings the documentation (including your ID) to the polling station on Election Day and then exchanges it for a Certificate to Vote. Visit the Vote by Proxy sections of the official Elections Web sites for more information.
On Election Day, if you have three consecutive hours off work during the polling station hours, your employer is not required to provide you with time off work to go vote.
However, if an employee does not have this time available, they can request time off to go vote from their employer. The employer must allow this, provided it’s at a time that’s convenient to the employer.
For more information on how to make sure your vote is counted, visit the aforementioned Web sites.