Monday August 30, 2021 | NATIONAL [Last updated 5:15 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Yes there’s a pandemic, but that is every reason to make voting easier to do, not more difficult.
Last week Elections Canada seemed to almost cheerfully announce that voting would not be offered on post-secondary campuses for this 44th general federal election period. The offered alternative was ‘special ballot’, voting by mail, or heading out to the general community to vote at main voting place locations.
The Elections Canada website offers information on “Ways to Vote” but when it comes to the campus voting setup, Elections Canada is just not giving it ‘the good old college try’.
Missing the campus opportunity:
Perhaps it’s been a long time since anyone at Elections Canada has been a university or college student. Those first few weeks on campus are a ‘zoo’… no time to do much of anything but become oriented to campus life, new classes and assignments, create new schedules, and sort out financial things if waiting for students loans or grants.
It was a bright light in the civic profile of Canada to have offered on-campus voting in the 2019 election. What happened? COVID overload at Elections Canada (if that is in fact the case) is no excuse. Is it fear that Elections Canada workers would be unduly exposed to COVID on campuses? It’s no fault of the students that they were left til last in the immunization queue across this country.
Of course it will probably help the NDP to have gone to the trouble of creating a shadow-website on How You Vote. That’s the job of Elections Canada but they are dropping the ball.
Voting can be easy:
“Voting is so easy to do — and you can do it in advance polls or by mail. I encourage everyone to make a plan to vote as early as possible,” said Jagmeet Singh yesterday in a news release.
He announced the website while on the campaign trail in Quebec. “Make a plan with your friends and family to get out there and be part of it,” Singh says.
Losing votes for all parties:
Anyone for whom it’s not mainstream or automatic to get out and vote will be additionally challenged in these difficult times. Votes will be lost — to all parties, though the NDP has the most to lose as they will be depending upon the youth vote and the ‘frustrated vote’ (people who are fed up with the usual politics of the larger parties).
So while it may seem partisan for the NDP to have launched their How You Vote site (announced this past weekend), it was a necessary thing for the democratic process in Canada.
The Green Party of Canada also has concerns about the cancellation of campus voting programs, and issued this release on August 28. “The Green Party of Canada echoes the calls made by student leaders across the country, and implores Elections Canada to revisit the decision to cancel campus voting programs,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.
The 44th federal general election day is Monday September 20, 2021.
But if you don’t want to vote in person that day (due to COVID, or a busy schedule) the advance voting is on Friday September 10 through Monday September 13, right across Canada.
There is a deadline to request a mail-in ballot. You must apply before Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. Marked ballots must be received by Elections Canada by general election day Monday September 20.
The Elections Canada website offers information on “Ways to Vote”.
Voter Information Cards:
Elections Canada has started mailing Voter Information Cards, it was announced today. Registered electors are likely to receive their card by September 10, 2021.
The vast majority of electors are registered and can expect to receive a voter information card at their current address, said Elections Canada today in a news release.