(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Elections Canada says two-day voting possible amid COVID-19 if election called this fall

Agency preparing for possibility of fall election due to minority government, upcoming throne speech

Elections Canada is quietly getting ready for a possible scenario that Canadians could go to the polls amid a pandemic this fall.

In a section titled “Approach to a possible fall election” on its website, the agency warns that with a minority government, an election could happen at any time. Parliament is currently prorogued until Sept. 23, after which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will return with a throne speech that could give opposition parties a chance to send Canada into its next election.

READ MORE: Parliament prorogued, confidence coming on throne speech, says Trudeau

Elections Canada said it is preparing for the possibility of a pandemic election. If such an election were to occur, the agency said it would recommend a number of changes including a two-day vote over a weekend.

“This would facilitate distancing of voters, give access to a range of polling locations such as schools that would otherwise be unavailable and help to recruit poll workers,” the agency stated. The agency would also recommend that mail-in ballots be accepted until the day after the voting weekend, as well as giving more flexibility for residents of long-term care homes, who are at the highest risk from COVID-19.

Elections Canada said some preparations are already underway, including stockpiling single-use masks and pencils, reducing the number of workers needed to aid physical distancing, increasing the capacity of Canada’s vote-by-mail system, nixing voting opportunities on largely virtual university campuses and utilizing more remote training opportunities.

“While the agency is prioritizing having the basic safety measures in place for its workers, electors and candidates, electors may experience delays at the polls as the agency implements the safety measures required,” the agency said.

In an “extreme and unexpected case,” the agency’s chief electoral officer could “certify that it has become impracticable for Elections Canada to administer the election in one or several electoral districts and recommend to the governor-in-council that the election writ be withdrawn.” The agency noted this has never occurred throughout its history.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronaviruselection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted black

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility diagnosed with COVID-19

Fraser Health said a rapid response team is on site

South Surrey resident blames city after house floods

Marilyn Molter said debris from city-planted maple trees easily clogs street drains

Senior White Rock election worker not concerned about safety at the polls

‘Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee,’ says Elections BC CEO

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Margaret Cuthbert

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read