VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As we fast approach federal election day, we’re learning not only voters but the people working at polling stations don’t have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Elections Canada says most of the people working there are 55 years or older, and likely have both doses already.
Canada’s federal election will be held on Sept. 20, and already, many are wondering what it will look like compared to previous elections.
Currently, the provincial health order on mandatory vaccines only applies to long-term care workers, therefore election day workers are not mandated to be vaccinated.
But Elections Canada says it is confident everyone will be safe due to new health and safety measures.
One of the biggest changes is a mask mandate for everyone, including voters and workers.
Andrea Marantz with the federal agency says even though it will be a bit different, voters should still be in and out in five minutes.
“Also when you go up to present your ID and be crossed off the voters list, you will be physically separated by plexiglass between you and the poll worker,” Marantz said.
Another change this year may mean voters end up at a different location than the last time they cast a ballot. Elections Canada says the school or recreation centre used in the past may not meet the guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Some new locations will be chosen based on space, ventilation, and to ensure there are few children around.
“If not that, there is a way of routing people so there will absolutely no contact between the electors and the students,” she said if a school is still used as a polling station.
Another change: bring-your-own writing tool, if possible.
“Anyone who wants to bring their own pen and pencil is welcome to do so. And we will have single use pencils that you just write your ballot and there’s either a safe disposal there or you can take it with you,” Marantz explained.
Elections Canada is urging anyone wanting to vote by mail to do so soon. Voters will have to registered for their mail-in ballot by Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. PT.
Advance polling days are Sept. 10 to 13 this year.