Canadian citizens who will be at least 18 years old on Jan. 23, 2006, may register to vote in the upcoming election. Those living or traveling abroad are eligible provided they intend to resume residence in Canada at some future date and have not been outside Canada for more than five years.
Canadians posted overseas in federal- or provincial-government public service are exempt from the five-year rule, as are citizens working for international organizations to which Canada belongs and contributes. Spouses, relatives and common-law partners who normally reside with those exempt from the rule are also exonerated.
Registration forms may be picked up from the Canadian Embassy (Oficentro La Sabana, Building 5, 3rd floor, 242-4400) in Sabana Sur in San José, Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and Fri. 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (The embassy will be closed Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2.) Forms and instructions may also be downloaded in PDF format at www.electionscanada.ca. You need to supply a permanent home address in Canada to determine your electoral district.
Given the short time, the embassy recommends faxing registration forms and supporting identification documents to Elections Canada in Ottawa (001-613-998-8393). (The embassy can take care of that step for you, in which case you need to provide them with photocopies of pages 2 and 3 of your passport. Jan. 3 is the final day the embassy can accept registration materials.)
Materials may also be mailed (a slower option) to:
PO Box 9830, Stn T
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 5W7
Special ballots will be sent to a mailing address you provide. They may also be sent to the embassy:
Embassy of Canada
PO Box 351-1007
If sending special ballots to the embassy, you must leave a contact number with the embassy and stop by to pick up your ballot. Completed ballots may be mailed or sent via courier to Elections Canada, and must arrive in Ottawa by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day to be counted. Ballots may also be left at the embassy for forwarding to Elections Canada. The deadline for embassy drop-off is Tues. Jan. 17 at 4 p.m.
Sources: Embassy of Canada; Elections Canada.