By Nicole Bogart, Editor of CTVNews.ca
EDMONTON, Alberta (CTV Network) – Monday’s federal election got off to a rocky start with some voters unable to locate their polling stations, a problem further exacerbated by a technical glitch with an app on the Elections Canada website.
Those who have tried to access Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service page – which allows voters to find their polling station by entering their postal code and address – were greeted with an error message early Monday.
âWe couldn’t find your polling place. Please call the returning office for assistance, âthe post read, according to dozens of user reports on social media.
Although app service was restored by mid-afternoon and an apology was posted on Elections Canada’s Twitter account, confusion among voters continued as Elections Canada sent dozens tweets from voters unable to find the polling stations indicated on their voter registration card. .
According to Elections Canada spokesperson Diane Benson, polling locations may change after confirmation of the vote for logistical reasons such as availability. If time remains, Elections Canada will send a âreplacementâ voter information card with the updated location.
“Very rarely do we lose a location at the last minute, or even on election day … We manage to find a location as close as possible nearby and try to have an information officer on site, who directs people to the new location, âBenson said. said of reports of people unable to find their polling station.
âWe asked people to check their voter ID cards before going out or entering their zip code on the website, just to make sure they were going to the right place before they left home. Today the volume was very high for this service and there were a few service disruptions which were quickly corrected.
In addition to long lines and longer-than-usual waiting times at polling stations, some of which have been attributed to ongoing COVID-19 measures, Elections Canada also reported a handful of disruptions in polling stations. polling stations across the country.
While the majority of polling stations opened on time and without incident, Elections Canada says issues were reported at several sites in Ontario and Western Canada, resulting in late opening of some stations or the need to relocate. . These include a polling station in the constituency of Brantford-Brant, southwest of Toronto, which had to be relocated following an Indigenous-led protest.
Poll workers failed to show up at two polling stations in the Ontario riding of Kenora, near the Manitoba border, delaying the vote. Two polling stations in First Nations communities in the Alberta constituency of Grand Prairie-Mackenzie also opened late due to the inability of staff to enter locked buildings. Polling stations have since opened.
According to the Canadian Press, special arrangements were also made with the approval of local campaigns for several polling stations in the Toronto ridings of Eglinton-Lawrence and University-Rosedale to manage the flow of voters while respecting the measures. security in place.
Meanwhile, in the riding of King-Vaughan, northwest of Toronto, voters faced a wait of more than two hours as of Monday night.
Edmonton Police also responded to a disturbance at a polling station where a man and woman refused to wear a mask inside a local public school as they attempted to vote. Police said the man was granted medical exemption and cooperated when asked to leave.
Elections Canada previously warned that the pandemic could result in longer waits for voters compared to previous elections thanks to public health protocols like distancing and collecting additional information for contact tracing purposes.
The polling stations themselves are also likely to be further away, as many schools and landlords have chosen not to accommodate crowds of voters during the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Elections Canada encouraged voters to wear masks, but only required them in places where they were mandated by provincial rules. Proof of vaccination regulations do not apply to polling stations in provinces where they currently exist.
Despite calls from some social media users, Benson says voting hours are highly unlikely to be extended. Instead, anyone standing in line at the close of polling stations will be treated and allowed to vote.
With files from The Canadian Press
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