PEI·PEI Votes

Islander living abroad upset over cost and timeline to vote

A Prince Edward Island woman who is working and studying abroad, is upset about the tight timeline and the cost for her vote to count in the upcoming provincial election.

Expensive to mail ballot from France to P.E.I.

'I was told upon my application that there is a strong likelihood that my ballot would not get back in time,' says Taya Nabuurs. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

A Prince Edward Island woman who is working and studying abroad is upset about the tight timeline and cost for her vote to count in the upcoming provincial election.

Taya Nabuurs is working in France as a teaching assistant and was planning on sending in a mail-in ballot for the 2019 election.

What she wasn't expecting was the amount of money it would cost to send the ballot back in time to be processed for the provincial election.

"I was quoted €59 which is about $88 Canadian, which I quite simply don't have," Nabuurs said after checking with the local post office.

Immediately after the writ dropped, Nabuurs said she applied for a mail-in ballot.

"I was told upon my application that there is a strong likelihood that my ballot would not get back in time."

Nabuurs said panic started to set in when she realized how short the window was to get her vote in for April 23.

She took to Twitter

Nabuurs tweeted about her frustrations and the improbability of her vote reaching the ballot box when she received her ballot in the mail from Elections P.E.I. Thursday morning.

Nabuurs said she was shocked to see the ballot reach her so quickly because all of the candidates were confirmed April 5 and Elections P.E.I. told her they needed five days to print the ballots.

"The earliest they could send out the ballots would be April 10th and so today being the 11th I was extremely shocked to find the ballot in my mailbox."

Even though the ballot was sent express mail to her, she said the odds of mailing it to Elections P.E.I. before the noon cut off on April 23 is very unlikely because of the cost to send it back. Nabuurs said it is incredibly disconcerting her vote may not count this year.

More on the ballot than leadership

"Not only are we voting for our representative, which in itself is incredibly important, but we are voting on a referendum question which is looking at a massive change to our democracy," Nabuurs said.

On election day Islanders won't only vote for who will sit in the province's top seat, they'll be asked if they want to adopt a mixed-member proportional election model.

Understand your options in the upcoming referendum

4 years ago
Duration 1:50
Understand your options in the upcoming referendum
Nabuurs says panic started to set in when she realized how short the window was to get her vote in for April 23. (Submitted by Taya Nabuurs)

In the end, Nabuurs decided to send her vote via regular mail. It's expected to take seven to 14 days.

"It was a difficult decision to make but in the end. I just physically don't have the money to send it by express mail so the decision was kind of made for me," Nabuurs said.

"It wasn't really a decision that I made."

Elections P.E.I. used a new and faster shipping method this time, opting to send ballots by FedEx.

The ballots were sent all around the world in under two days, the organization said in an email to CBC.

"We understand that there is a challenge and a cost to get the ballots back to our office by the deadline, but these are the rules in the Election Act at this time," Elections P.E.I. said.

More P.E.I news

With files from Natalia Goodwin

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