Canadians are using social media to share their experiences voting in the first pandemic federal election. Long lines, missing voter cards, wrong polling stations and added COVID-19 protocols were common themes, but for some, the process was a bit more clunky.
In an email, Nathalie de Montigny, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, said election workers did everything possible to ensure voting went smoothly and that all electors in line at any polling place by 9:30 p.m. were allowed to vote.
In cases, where a polling location had to be moved, an updated voter information card was sent to the electors by mail or if it time was too short, information officers were redirecting electors showing up at the former site to the new site. We will carefully analyze how the election went, and where we could have done better. Planning and delivering an election during a pandemic came with additional challenges, but we will take the time to look into election day in order to learn from it.Elections Canada spokesperson
She added: “We know we did not meet all voters expectations in terms of accessibility to the vote with some voters in urban ridings who waited patiently to cast their vote. Our poll workers did everything they could in challenging circumstances to ensure a safe voting process. We want to thank Canadians for their patience and understanding yesterday, and for their commitment to the democratic process.”
Despite the admission, the plethora of issues had many questioning whether having an election during a pandemic, with such short notice was fair to both voters and staff.
Toronto journalist Matt Curney took to Twitter to share how the address on his voter ID card led him to a polling station that had a sign that made it clear he was in the wrong location.
So here is a first for me: my voter ID card sent me to the wrong location. I showed up, as were a bunch of other people, to find a sign on the door saying NO POLLING STATION HERE. Went online and saw I was supposed to go to a library about a mile in the opposite direction.
— Matt Gurney (@mattgurney) September 20, 2021
The tweet inspired others to share in their tales of election day flubs. Some were sent to the wrong location nearby, when they were in fact expected to go to another location further away.
We had the wrong location for the advance poll on our voter cards. First location was a 5 minute walk, actual location was a 15 minute drive
— Shelley Phillips (@ShellBPhil) September 20, 2021
I got 2 cards. We went to the normal location (as indicated by one card) and were redirected (to location of 2nd card). Was told that elections Canada had to change when the catholic school boards denied use of the schools because of COVID.
— Nick (@Nicktheflick81) September 20, 2021
A 60 mile detour for some up here. Polls closed, no workers.
— Natalie McCormick (@albertaclassic) September 20, 2021
Or in the wrong riding.
My voter card has a polling station that is a 2 hour drive away for me, in the wrong riding. I think elections Canada is…less than optimal…I haven’t been enumerated correctly since 2011. The website has the right location though. 🤷♂️
— Kelly Mason (@kellyM1971) September 20, 2021
Others, including CBC host Ginella Massa, didn’t receive their voter cards.
OMG that’s not good 😬
I didn’t even get a voter card this year..
— Ginella Massa (@Ginella_M) September 20, 2021
— Anshul Vishal 🇨🇦 (@AnshulSEDC) September 20, 2021
No one in our house received a voting card
— Kathy Swaile (@kathyswaile) September 20, 2021
Some didn’t get their ballot for mail-in voting package.
I signed up for mail-in voting August 22 and still haven’t received my ballot. My ID card has my middle name spelled wrong. On my way to plead my case now.
— Mike Purdy (@MichaelGPurdy) September 20, 2021
One voter faced a flooded parking lot at his voting station.
Here is another one for you, a water main break at the Sheraton on highway 7 in richmond hill is interfering with parking, almost no one in the 10 polling stations . Poll parking is now a Pool for the conservative leaning voters in a tight race #CanadaElection2021 pic.twitter.com/d5RciYdMzD
— Mark (@MarkwBrooks) September 20, 2021