Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 10, 2021
It’s time to vote: Advanced polling opening to Canadians during pandemic election
The time to vote has arrived – in person, that is.
Millions of Canadians will be able to cast their ballots at voting stations on Friday as advanced polls open across the country. Any eligible voter will have until Sept. 13 to mark their ballots at a polling station in their riding as part of the advanced window.
Advanced voting is proving to be a popular method in Canada’s elections, said Dugald Maudsley, an Elections Canada spokesperson.
He told Global News that in the 2019 election, 4,840,300 voters went out to advanced polls while 3,657,415 did so in 2015.
With the country is in a COVID-19 fourth wave, Maudsley said it’s possible the turnout for advanced polling will increase again this time around – but anything can happen.
“Often (advanced polling stations are) not as crowded, they’re not as busy and it’s a way to get in efficiently and get your vote done,” he said.
“We’re really telling people that voting in person at advanced polls and on election day is still the simplest and most efficient way to vote.”
Canada has been in election mode since Aug. 15 and party leaders have been busy touring the country in an effort to get voters on their sides. The leaders took part in the first of two official debates Wednesday night, trading blows in French. The English-language debate took place Thursday night.
The debates are happening at a time when some Canadians still don’t know who they’re voting for. A new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found 13 per cent of those surveyed are undecided.
With advanced polling here, Maudsley wants Canadians to know in-person voting will be safe during the fourth wave. He compared in-person voting to visiting the grocery store, and voters can expect Elections Canada staff to follow all health protocols.
For example, he said Canadians can expect poll workers to be wearing face masks and shields, and that they’ll be behind plexiglass. There will also be sanitation stations and social distancing will be enforced.
“You really won’t be there for very long once you’ve checked yourself in,” Maudsley said. “It’s really about a five-minute process to vote.” (Global News)