Elections Canada reports disruptions at some polling stations

Monday’s federal election noticed a rocky begin with some voters unable to find their polling stations, a difficulty additional exacerbated by a technical challenge with an utility on Election Canada’s web site.

Those that tried to entry Election Canada’s voter data service web page – which permits voters to search out their polling station by getting into their postal code and handle – had been greeted with an error message early Monday.

“We had been unable to search out your voting location. Please name the workplace of the returning officer for help,” learn the message, in accordance with dozens of person stories on social media.

Though service to the appliance was restored by mid-afternoon, and an apology was issued on the Elections Canada Twitter account, confusion amongst voters continued, with Elections Canada fielding dozens of tweets from voters unable to search out the polling stations listed on their voter registration card.

In keeping with Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson, polling areas might change after the ballot is confirmed as a consequence of logistical causes like availability. If there’s time, Elections Canada will ship out a “alternative” voter data card with the up to date location.

“Very not often, we lose a location on the final minute, and even on election day… We handle to discover a location as shut as attainable close by and attempt to have an data officer on the website, directing individuals to the brand new location,” Benson stated in relation to stories of these unable to search out their polling station.

“We have now been telling individuals to verify they verify their voter card earlier than they exit, or enter their postal code on the web site, simply to verify they’re going to the appropriate place earlier than they depart the home. At the moment, the quantity was very excessive for this service and there have been a number of service interruptions that had been rapidly mounted.”

Along with lengthy traces and longer than normal wait occasions at polling stations, a few of which has been attributed to ongoing COVID-19 measures, Elections Canada additionally reported a handful of disruptions at polling stations throughout the nation.

Whereas nearly all of polling stations opened on time and with out incident, Elections Canada says points had been reported at a number of websites in Ontario and Western Canada, leading to some stations opening late or having to be relocated. These embrace a polling station within the using of Brantford-Brant, southwest of Toronto, which needed to be moved following an Indigenous-led protest.

Ballot employees didn’t present up for 2 polls within the Ontario using of Kenora, close to the border with Manitoba, delaying voting. Two polling areas in First Nations communities within the Alberta using of Grand Prairie-Mackenzie had been additionally late opening as a consequence of employees being unable to get into locked buildings. The polls have since opened.

In keeping with the Canadian Press, particular preparations had been additionally made with the approval of native campaigns for a number of polling locations within the Toronto ridings of Eglinton-Lawrence and College-Rosedale to handle the circulate of voters whereas respecting security measures in place.

Police in Edmonton additionally responded to a disruption at a polling station the place a person and girl refused to put on a masks inside a neighborhood public faculty as they tried to vote. Police stated the person allegedly had a medical exemption and co-operated when requested to go away.

Elections Canada beforehand warned that the pandemic may result in longer waits for voters in comparison with previous elections due to public well being protocols like distancing and gathering additional data for contact tracing functions.

The polling stations themselves are additionally prone to be farther away, as many colleges and landlords opted out of internet hosting crowds of voters throughout the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Elections Canada inspired voters to put on masks however solely required them in locations the place they had been mandated by provincial guidelines. Proof-of-vaccination rules don’t apply at polling stations in any province the place they at present exist.

Regardless of pleas from some social media customers, Benson says it is rather unlikely that any ballot hours can be prolonged. As an alternative, anybody who’s in line on the shut of polls can be processed and allowed to vote.

With recordsdata from The Canadian Press

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