Advance polls for the Sept. 20 federal election will be open from Friday, Sept. 10 until Monday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the former Northstar Ford location at 340 Railway St. W.

There are nine candidates for the Banff-Airdrie riding, in which Cochrane is located. They are Aidan Blum, Green Party; Tariq Elnaga, Maverick Party; David Gamble, Liberal Party; Caroline O'Driscoll, independent; Blake Richards, Conservatives; Derek Sloan, independent, Ron Voss, independent; Nadine Wellwood, People's Party; and Sarah Zagoda, NDP.

These polls have become an increasingly popular way for Canadians to vote.

Exactly which poll and where it's located can be found on your voter information card. If you did not receive a voter information card with your name and proper street address, you can check to see if you are registered or register through the online voter registration service here.

You also have the option of visiting the local Elections Canada office located in the Sheridan Mall, 118-1 Ave. Suite 9 in Cochrane. It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The toll-free helpline is 1-800-463-6868.

Besides advance polls and voting on election day, you can vote by mail, providing you apply by Sept. 16, 6 p.m. It's important to know that once you apply to vote by mail, you can't change your mind and vote at the advance polls or on election day.

You can also vote at any Elections Canada office before Tuesday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m.

On election day, Sept. 20, polls open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

COVID-19 health restrictions are in place at the polling stations. You must wear a mask, and practice physically distancing by staying at least two metres away from voters and poll workers. You will be provided with a single-use pencil to mark a ballot or you can bring your own pen or pencil. There will be hand sanitizer stations. 

To vote, you must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years old on election day, and provide proof of your identity and address.

Candidates Forum on Sept. 14

For those wanting the opportunity to learn more about the candidates and meet them in person, a candidates forum is being hosted by the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at the RockPointe Church, 255024 Lochend Rd., just east of town adjacent to Hwy. 1A.

It runs from 7 to 8 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. A half-hour is being provided to chat with candidates after the forum ends.

The forum provides each candidate 1 1/2 minutes to explain their campaign. Questions followed and must be submitted in advance. Submit your questions here.