A bunch of Toronto election votes have been thrown out and here's why

Many Toronto residents are left puzzled in the wake of long-time Toronto city councillor Cynthia Lai's sudden death. Lai, who was looking to represent Ward 23 Scarborough North for another term, died on Friday after advance polling had already began.

This is a peculiar incident you don't see too often (or ever?) in politics.

What happens when a candidate running for office dies in the middle of a campaign?

According to the Municipal Elections Act, if a candidate dies before voting day and there are at least two other candidates running, the election will proceed as if the deceased candidate had not been nominated. In short, this means all advanced votes for Lai are now void.

After Lai's passing, the City of Toronto issued a statement confirming the election for Ward 23 will proceed and all votes for the deceased candidate will not be counted. Ballots for election day Monday had already been printed, the city says, and can not be changed in time.

Those who voted for Lai in advance polling will not be given a do-over.

The city says, "Eligible voters can only vote once. There is no provision in the MEA for voters who have already cast a ballot through mail-in ballot or advance voting for the candidate to change their vote.” 

The three candidates left in the running to represent Ward 23 are Virginia Jones, Jamaal Myers and Phillip Francis. There are aproximately 61,100 voters in this ward. 

Lead photo by

Mondo Lulu

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