Elections Canada is warning that people who cast their ballots early will likely lose their votes if their chosen candidate suddenly drops out of the election race.

“Unfortunately your ballot will be lost. It will be rejected because there’ll be no candidate to put your vote beside,” said Dugald Maudsley, Elections Canada’s regional media advisor for the Greater Toronto Area.

Those wishing to vote early can already do so at one of Elections Canada’s 400 office across the country. Offices are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Voters must bring proof of ID and address.

Closer to election day, people can vote at advance polling stations for four days before the October 19: Oct 9, 10, 11, and 12.

People can also vote by mail but must apply to do so no later than 6 p.m. EST on Oct 13.

A word of caution on early voting

In recent weeks several candidates have been forced to withdraw unexpectedly from Canada’s 2015 federal election, the most notable example being Tory hopeful Jerry Brance, who was caught on a hidden camera urinating into a coffee mug while making a house call for his service technician job.

In what quickly became known as the ‘Peegate Scandal’, Brance was forced to withdraw his nomination on the grounds of his being untruthful during the candidate screening process.

Similar such scandals have hit candidates from other parties, such as Liberal contender Ala Buzreba who made offensive posts on Twitter as a teenager, including one that stated “Go blow your brains out you waste of sperm,” during one online spat.

“The key word here is unexpected. It’s unexpected for everyone so there’s really very little you can do to prepare in advance for a situation like that,” said Maudsley.

However, such events remain rare in an election being contested by roughly 2,000 candidates from all political parties, according to Maudsley.

One precaution voters can take before election day is typing in their postal code on Election Canada’s homepage and checking to see which candidates are actually confirmed on the ballot.

Maudsley said that in some cases candidates had campaign signs put up before they filed their papers.

Alternatively, voters can contact the political party of their choice to conform that their chosen candidate is on the ballot.

“There is a way you can prepare yourself so that you don’t vote for someone who’s never become a candidate,” said Maudsley

For more information, please visit Elections Canada or call them at 1-800-463-6868.