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Expect longer wait times when you vote, says Elections Canada

Voters can expect long lineups as they hit the polls today, according to Elections Canada.

COVID-19 protocols will mean longer lineups at polling stations

Voters should be prepared for longer lineups on voting day due to added COVID-19 protocols and fewer polling locations. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Voters can expect long lineups as they hit the polls today, warns Elections Canada.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections Canada has reduced the number of polling locations across Canada.

"What's happened, in many cases, is we've had to find new locations because some were not available," said Réjean Grenier, an Elections Canada spokesperson.

Schools, for example, couldn't be used for polling locations, due to their COVID-19 precautions, but Grenier said the locations Elections Canada did find for election day are often more spacious. While some people may need to travel a little further to vote, the number of polls will be almost the same as in previous years, he said.

Additional COVID-19 protocols, such as contact tracing at the door, could also lead to longer wait times than in previous years.

Close to 5.8 million Canadians voted in advance polls, breaking past records. At some advance polling locations, longer lineups and wait times were evident as people waited their turn to receive their ballot.

"There are still millions of people to vote in this election, and therefore yes, there will be some lineups," Grenier said. "But you know what? It's something that in the last 18 months we've been used to — either at a store or anywhere we've gone."

"We've had to stand in line with our masks, so this will be the same."

Elections Canada staffing shortage

Grenier said as of Sept. 14, Elections Canada had not yet met its staffing needs for voting day.

"We were at 78 per cent of the number of people we'd like to have to run an election," he said. "That being said, we will be able to run an election. We've run elections before in much more difficult times, such as wars, and we can run an election with the people that we now have."

Polls are open Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Grenier said voters should pay close attention to their voter card, since their voting location could be different.

If someone did not receive their voter card in the mail, they can visit the Elections Canada website and find their polling location, based on their postal code.

For people who opted to vote by mail, their vote will be counted as long as it arrives before polls close. Voters can also hand-deliver their mail-in ballots at their designated polling station on Monday.

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