'I’m actually going to be emotional': New Canadian casts ballot for first time in Saskatoon
For many Canadians, this 44th federal election is a first as those who are newly 18 years old as of Sept. 20 as well as new citizens, can cast a vote.
Peter Maduakor moved from Nigeria in 2013 and became a Canadian citizen last year. For him, this election holds a lot of significance and he’s both nervous and excited.
“I’m actually going to be emotional because for me, it’s historic because voting in an election where your vote is going to be counted is something I’ve not witnessed before,” Maduakor told CTV News.
Nigeria is a democratic country, but Maduakor doesn’t trust the system as much as Canada's
“Unfortunately that is not what is practiced because elections are decided before votes are cast in the backroom. People are not allowed to have freedom of speech even though they say you do.”
Maduakor was surprised to see how peaceful the Canadian election process is.
“I was surprised. I saw everything was done without violence and I said to myself 'Wow! An election can actually go this way.' When you talk about election in my country, election is actually synonymous with violence,” he said.
Marie France-Kenny is the regional Elections Canada representative for Saskatchewan.
She said the precise number of new voters in this election won’t be known until well after all ballots are counted.
All voters and especially those who are heading to the polls for the first time should be aware of the specific polling station etiquette.
“You’re not supposed to be sharing information from your ballot at the polling location and you’re not supposed to be taking pictures while in the polling station,” France-Kenny told CTV News.
If a new voter hasn’t received a voter card, they can still head to the polls today with a photo identification and they should be on the list based on their income tax return.
Those who turned 18 years today or earlier and have registered, can also mark their X for the candidate of their choice also which is what first time voter, 18 year old Riley Tooley is doing.
“Your vote matters and everyone’s opinion should be counted. It’s your choice on how you want everything to be running,” Tooley said.
The pandemic is also on his mind as he heads to the polls and he thinks it’s significant for many young voters like him.
“I believe that’s a huge factor. The candidates view on COVID is a giant factor,” he said.
For those who want to document the voting experience, France-Kenny tells us, some polling stations across the country have a selfie station set up outside to snap a photo.
She says with new COVID-19 screening measures including extra cleaning and fewer staff to ensure distancing, there might be a longer wait than other years, but says so far the agency is hearing that voters are waiting only about 15 minutes maximum to vote.