Many people are away from where they would ordinarily live, either working or attending school, and want to know if they can still vote in a New Brunswick provincial election. Students have the option to vote for a candidate in the electoral district where they normally reside or for a candidate in the electoral district where they live while attending school. They must have lived in the province for forty days prior to Election Day and must also meet the standard qualifications to vote.
Voters Away from Home
In order to vote in New Brunswick, one must be a Canadian Citizen, at least 18 years of age by Election Day, have been ordinarily resident somewhere in New Brunswick for at least 40 days before Election Day, and be ordinarily resident in the riding where you apply to vote.
Students who are ordinarily resident in one electoral district of New Brunswick but are residing in a different electoral district for the purpose of attending a post-secondary institution, have the unique opportunity to have their name placed either on the voters list in their “home” electoral district and vote for a candidate in that electoral district, or to have their name placed on the voters list for the electoral district where they are living while going to school, and vote for the candidate in that electoral district.
Students from another province only temporarily residing in New Brunswick for the purpose of attending school do not gain the status of ‘ordinarily residence” which is necessary to vote. However, if a student from another province declares that he or she has decided to make New Brunswick their home or ‘ordinary residence’ and has been ordinarily resident for at least 40 days, that person can apply to be put on the voters list and to vote.
If you are unable to vote in person, or are working or travelling abroad, you can choose to vote by mail using a Special Ballot. To vote by mail, you must complete an Application for a Special Ballot.
There are 5 easy steps to follow in order to receive your Special ballot and vote by mail:
1. Complete the appropriate Application for a Special Ballot for the type of election underway. Downloadable forms for each type of election can be found on the Forms page.
2. As soon as the election begins, you can send your Application for a Special Ballot to your local returning office by:
a. Fax; or
b. Scanning (or high resolution) and email.
3. If your name is not on the List of Electors, the Special Voting Officers from the returning office will contact you. If this occurs, you will also need to complete a signed certification that you meet the qualifications to vote, and provide a photocopy or scan of one or more pieces of ID that between them show your name, address and signature (i.e. copy both sides of your driver’s license).
4. Once your application is approved and ballots are able to be sent, the Special Voting Officers from the returning office will prepare a Special Ballot Mail-In Voting Kit, and send it to your temporary address by courier. The kit includes your ballot, a secrecy envelope, a return envelope and detailed voting instructions.
When Applying to be added to the voters list you must present one of more pieces of identification which between them show your name, your signature, and the address where you are now resident. (A New Brunswick driver’s license contains all three and is the ideal piece of identification).
Other options may include:
- lease agreements,
- utility bills,
- student IDs,
- other documentation that provides the above three requirements, or having a friend already on the voters list vouch for your residency.
You will be required to sign a declaration stating you are now ‘ordinarily” resident in New Brunswick, have been so for at least 40 days, and that this address in New Brunswick is now your ordinary residence.
Note: You can also apply in person to obtain a ballot for your ‘home” electoral district at any Returning Office in the province, and cast your ballot there at the same time. Or, you can request that the Returning Office in your “home” riding” mail you a special ballot, and then you must ensure the ballot is received back at that returning office by 8pm on Election Day.
Bill is from British Columbia, but has been attending a university in New Brunswick for the past two years. He went back to BC for the summer to work, but is returning in the fall to resume his studies. He has made New Brunswick his permanent residence. As long as Bill can produce identification showing his name, signature, and the residence in the riding where he is living, and signs the declaration confirming New Brunswick is his ordinary residence, he is eligible to vote, and apply to be added to the voters list.
Sarah left her parents’ home in Bathurst to attend community college in Saint John. She is renting an apartment with 2 other friends in Saint John. Sarah has the choice to either vote for a candidate running in her home riding in Bathurst, or she can choose to vote for a candidate in the riding where she is living while attending school. She must produce identification that shows her name, signature, and the address of the residence in the riding where she is choosing to vote, and sign the declaration confirming New Brunswick is her ordinary residence, in order to be added to the voters list.
Josh is a first year student from Nova Scotia who has come to New Brunswick to go to university. He arrived on August 25, a week before classes begin. A provincial general election is scheduled for September 22. Josh is not eligible to vote in the general election because he does not meet the requirement of being “ordinarily resident” in the province for 40 days prior to the election.