Brutal election day lines being reported at Toronto voting stations
We're used to fairly simple election day processes in Toronto, but voting for the 44th general election has been no picnic so far, with long lines reported at polling stations across the city this morning.
If you’re planning on voting today, you might want to pack a lunch or maybe choose a podcast in advance, especially in some of Toronto's more densely populated ridings, where excruciating wait times are likely.
Of course, we knew this was a probable outcome based on the staggering decline in the number of election day polling stations in Toronto compared to the 2019 election — the Toronto Centre riding left with a shell of its voting capacity, falling from 91 polling stations to just 15 this year.
Nine ridings in this region alone have had their number of polling stations slashed by 50 per cent or more compared to the last federal election.
Gruelling wait times were already hinted at last week when reports emerged of well over one hour lines for a voting process that typically takes 10-20 minutes.
It's been more of the same on election day, with round-the-block lines and a palpable frustration in the air.
As predicted, it's been particularly rough in Toronto Centre, where lines stretched for blocks before polling stations even opened this morning.
Spadina-Fort York is another hotspot, with only 15 polling stations, down from 56 stations in the 2019 election.
Polls opened just two minutes ago and lines are already stretching down the street at a polling station in Spadina—Fort York. The riding has just 15 polling places this election. pic.twitter.com/V4bSI3wmsh— Jenna Moon (@_jennamoon) September 20, 2021
Some are saying they've never had to wait in queues this long to vote.
A sprawling line stretched along The Bentway below the Gardiner Expressway, voters waiting their turn to cast their ballot in a polling station at Old Fort York.
It’s a similar story at the Fort York National Historic site. The line here stretches under the Gardiner and through the Bentway trail. pic.twitter.com/RSoUaM9gHT— Jenna Moon (@_jennamoon) September 20, 2021
Even in lower-density neighbourhoods of the city, similar scenes of long lines are the norm.
Massive voting line in Toronto on an unnecessary election pic.twitter.com/9mMOfyJfzT— Raghu Venugopal (@raghu_venugopal) September 20, 2021
Some areas are seeing much lighter traffic, like one polling station in the Toronto-Danforth riding, where wait times are much lower than in the heart of the city.
I know some folks are facing long lines to vote, but there’s virtually no delay in Toronto-Danforth. I was out in 10 minutes, thanks to excellent Elections Canada triage of the lineup by poll number. pic.twitter.com/6Y8mgZq2vb— Rob Roberts (@itsrobroberts) September 20, 2021
Lines could get much longer as the day progresses, especially into the evening hours when many have more free time to get to the polls.
With such a close race, issues with polling station availability right out of the gate, and a much higher number of mail-in ballots expected this year, it could be a few days before results come into focus.
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