Elections Canada is preparing a pandemic election that includes running a multi-day voting period over a weekend instead of the traditional one-day vote. In a year filled with an abundance of bad geo-political news, it seems Elections Canada is determined to show the world a shining example of the Canadian democratic process even in the midst of a challenging world.
Spreading voting across a two-day time-frame would allow voters to maintain social distancing and would permit Elections Canada to use larger venues (e.g. schools) which otherwise would be in use during a Monday vote.
In addition to making adjustments to the calendar and to venues, Elections Canada is also preparing for a higher-than-normal demand for mail-in ballots.
Likelihood for a fall election
Obviously, it’s uncertain when an election might be called, but Elections Canada is rapidly preparing for the strong likelihood of a fall election.
“Given the current minority government, an election could take place at any time,” the Elections Canada website says. “the health and safety of all participants in the electoral process is of paramount importance: this includes electors, thousands, of election workers and candidates and their workers.”
No online voting
Elections Canada has rejected the idea of online voting. According to research conducted by Elections Canada, the majority of Canadians plan to vote in person. However, a sizable 22% say they would prefer to vote by mail, which, as mentioned earlier, Elections Canada is already preparing for. Though the agency cautions that large numbers of mail-in ballots could result in delayed voting results.
“It’s at times of crisis that our democratic values are tested,” MP Michael Chong said. “That’s why it’s important that Elections Canada uphold our democratic values by ensuring the health and safety of Canadians during an election while maintaining confidence in the integrity of the election.”