Canada's election results likely to be delayed this year due to mail-in ballots
The results of the Canada's election, held in the midst of a global pandemic, could be delayed.
Canadians will go to the polls on Sept. 20 and this election will be different, Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perrault said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
"I know that Canadians are used to getting complete results on election night but it will be different for this election," Perrault said.
The count of the advance poll and election day poll results will start on election night but mail-in ballots will be counted later. The mail-in ballots require integrity checks and may take longer to gather. Poll workers must verify that Canadians have not voted both by mail and in person.
"If the volume of mail-in ballots is high as we have seen in other jurisdictions during the pandemic, it will take longer for returning officers to count those ballots," he said.
In the 2019 election there were 50,000 mail in ballots…now Elections Canada is expecting 5 MILLION for this election…which will slow the official results by up to a week.— Canada Is In TROUBLE (@puckyou1977) August 18, 2021
This could mean delays of two to five days, he added. Daily updates will be provided.
The volume of mail-in votes is expected to surge from about 50,000 in 2019 election to between two and three million this time.
The 2020 United States presidential election results were delayed for days as many people opted to vote by mail during the pandemic. Election day was Nov. 3, 2020 and most media organizations declared a winner on Nov. 7.
Voting by mail isn't new in Canada.
"Canadians have been voting by mail, even locally, since 1993," Perrault said.
But the election period is short, the expected volume of mail-in votes is high so those wishing to vote by mail, should get their kit in early, he warned. The fastest way is to apply online.
"Electors voting by mail are responsible for ensuring their ballot is returned in time."
People should check the Canada Post schedule, and those concerned about being late, can bring the kit to their polling station on election day, he added.
"I encourage electors to plan early and chose the voting option that works for them."
Those who do decide to vote in person should note that the more than 250,000 polling officers won't be required to have vaccinations against COVID-19, Perrault said.
He said there will be safety measures in place.
"These are the same Canadians that you meet every day at the grocery store. The difference is that the polls are a controlled environment where safety measures can be applied more rigorously," Perrault said.
They will continue to monitor the situation with public health authorities.
"We will adjust our measures based on their recommendations."
Join the conversation Load comments