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Manitobans can cast ballots from afar


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ON election day, Everett Hopfner won't let the fact that he's in Frankfurt, Germany stop him from voting in the provincial election.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/09/2011 (4218 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ON election day, Everett Hopfner won’t let the fact that he’s in Frankfurt, Germany stop him from voting in the provincial election.

The 22-year-old music student from Sainte Rose is studying abroad but still plans to cast his vote by absentee ballot — a move that provincial election-organizers hope other Manitobans who are out of province for the election will consider.

Manitoba residents away from the province on election day, Oct. 4, and during advance voting period from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, could be eligible to make an application for absentee voting, Elections Manitoba said Thursday.

An absentee voter must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age and have resided in Manitoba for at least six months before election day and intend to be away for no more than six months.

Canadian Forces members, students attending school out-of-province and provincial and federal government workers are permitted to cast a ballot even if they will be away for longer than six months.

Manitobans have been permitted to vote by absentee ballots since 1999 and in the last provincial election approximately 774 people mailed in their votes — which represents roughly 0.2 per cent of all the votes cast.

Hopfner cast his vote in the last provincial election and has voted ever since he was eligible — a rarity amongst his peers — even going the extra mile to mail in his absentee ballot during last year’s federal election.

The young musician doesn’t understand why his peers wouldn’t leap at the chance to exercise their basic democratic right. “It’s so easy in Canada to take everything we have for granted,” said Hopfner, who has been watching the democratic Arab Spring movement with interest. “We’re so lucky to be in a country where a government can be defeated and they hand over the keys without there being riots in the streets.”

All absentee ballots must be received by the returning office by 8 p.m. on election day and elections officials suggest that voters mail in their application to vote around 18 days beforehand.

Applications to cast an absentee ballot are available from the Elections Manitoba website.


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