Voting has begun for the Ontario Election: Here's what you need to know

Election day isn't for another four weeks, but voters have several options for casting their ballot now for the provincial election.

RETURNING OFFICE

"As of today, at our returning offices, they [voters] can start to vote via special ballot," explained Elections Ontario spokesperson Eleni Armenakis.

Upon arrival at the returning office, residents must show identification and complete an application form to register for a special ballot.

ADVANCED VOTING

Starting May 19, advanced voting locations will open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Advanced voting is open for additional days this year until May 28.

"So it's 10 days of advance voting this election," Armenakis said.

Voters are encouraged to ensure they are registered and have proper identification when voting in person.

Masks and proof of vaccination are not required this year, but face masks and hand sanitizer will be provided, and physical distancing will be in place.

The Barrie-Innisfil returning office in the former La-Z-Boy Furniture Store on Bryne Drive has a 500-person capacity limit.

MAIL-IN VOTES

Applications to vote by mail are now available. The deadline to vote by mail is May 27.

"We have to receive your ballot by 6 p.m. on election day for it to be counted. There is a prepaid envelope, but it's really good to start this process to make sure you get everything in on time," Armenakis said.

NOW HIRING

Elections Ontario is hiring 55,000 people to ensure voting runs as smoothly as possible.

"You can work for one day. You can work for a few days if you're doing advance voting. All the positions are paid. If you're 16 or 17, you can even work as an information assistant."

A full list of official candidates across the region is available here.

Candidates hoping to have their name on the ballot have until May 12 at 2 p.m.