(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Elections Canada says two-day voting possible amid COVID-19 if election called this fall

Agency preparing for possibility of fall election due to minority government, upcoming throne speech

Elections Canada is quietly getting ready for a possible scenario that Canadians could go to the polls amid a pandemic this fall.

In a section titled “Approach to a possible fall election” on its website, the agency warns that with a minority government, an election could happen at any time. Parliament is currently prorogued until Sept. 23, after which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will return with a throne speech that could give opposition parties a chance to send Canada into its next election.

READ MORE: Parliament prorogued, confidence coming on throne speech, says Trudeau

Elections Canada said it is preparing for the possibility of a pandemic election. If such an election were to occur, the agency said it would recommend a number of changes including a two-day vote over a weekend.

“This would facilitate distancing of voters, give access to a range of polling locations such as schools that would otherwise be unavailable and help to recruit poll workers,” the agency stated. The agency would also recommend that mail-in ballots be accepted until the day after the voting weekend, as well as giving more flexibility for residents of long-term care homes, who are at the highest risk from COVID-19.

Elections Canada said some preparations are already underway, including stockpiling single-use masks and pencils, reducing the number of workers needed to aid physical distancing, increasing the capacity of Canada’s vote-by-mail system, nixing voting opportunities on largely virtual university campuses and utilizing more remote training opportunities.

“While the agency is prioritizing having the basic safety measures in place for its workers, electors and candidates, electors may experience delays at the polls as the agency implements the safety measures required,” the agency said.

In an “extreme and unexpected case,” the agency’s chief electoral officer could “certify that it has become impracticable for Elections Canada to administer the election in one or several electoral districts and recommend to the governor-in-council that the election writ be withdrawn.” The agency noted this has never occurred throughout its history.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronaviruselection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dreamfish are hung on the fence at Annunication School in Prince Rupert on April 17 as part of the Stream of Dream eco-education program teaching about local watersheds and salmon habitats. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Stream of Dreams fish swim the fence at Prince Rupert School

Students at Annunciation school learned about watershed protection and salmon habitat

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

BC CDC mapping for the week ending April 4, shows a sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases to 27 in Prince Rupert down 45 from the week prior. (Image: BCCDC)
Sharp decline in Prince Rupert COVID-19 cases

Prince Rupert lab-confirmed cases are down 62.5 per cent in one week

Blair Mirau, Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society CEO, is seen in a hydroponic greenhouse the society purchased in 2020 to promote food stability and local supply. (Photo: supplied)
Three P.R. organizations partner to develop food distribution network

$167,000 grant awarded to GSN, PRDCC and Ecotrust Canada to strengthen food supply chains

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Most Read