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'It's not really covered in the news here': Canadian expats gear up to vote after rule changes

(CREDIT: iStock)
Summary

Rule changes mean expats can now vote in the federal election, no matter how long they've been away


Some Canadians living in the U.S. say it can be tough to follow Canadian politics south of the border


Previously, Canadians who had lived out of the country for more than five years were not eligible to cast a ballot


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s not just people on this side of the border voting in our election.

The rules have changed for Canadians living abroad: expats can now vote in the federal election, no matter how long they’ve been away.

While many people are brushing up on their knowledge of party leaders and local MP candidates, many in the U.S. say it can be tough to follow Canadian politics south of the border.

“It’s not really covered in the news here,” Stephanie — who is now living in Portland, Oregon — says. “But obviously, if you go on the internet, you can find tons of information.”

Some Canucks living in the U.S. say most Americans don’t even know there’s an election going on in the Great White North.

“The certain key incidents like the blackface and what not got a ton of exposure, but outside of that, there’s not a whole lot,” Luke Schaab, who is originally from Calgary, tells NEWS 1130 in a phone call from Texas.

“The scandal with the prime minister and the blackface and brownface photos is far more famous than the fact that an election is happening,” Curtis Duggan, who now calls New York City home, adds.

He notes the leader of the NDP is also getting some attention — among those who are aware of the election.

“I spoke to some Americans who are of Sikh and Punjabi descent who are excited about and aware of Jagmeet Singh,” Duggan says.

Voting made ‘easy’

Ballots from expat voters need to arrive in Ottawa before 6:00 p.m. EST on election day.

Before changes were made, Canadians who had lived out of the country for more than five years were not eligible to cast a ballot.

In order to vote, electors living abroad will have to register on the International Register of Electors and provide appropriate documentation establishing their citizenship. If they’re not registered to vote, they will have to apply online or send in an application form to Election Canada by mail or fax.

Luke — who is now in Houston, Texas — says the process is easy.

“You go on Elections Canada and you register as a non-resident citizen and they mail you a package,” he explains.

So who are these people voting for? Votes from Canadians living abroad will count in the constituency they were last living in.