Canadians are turning out in droves to vote in advance of the federal election, with 1.3 million people participating on Day 1 of advance voting.
The advance polls were open from September 10 to 13, and for some, it was a must to avoid the large throngs that would turn up on Election Day in the event of a pandemic. Tamara Hinz, a child psychiatrist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, made sure to vote over the weekend in her University riding.
“It was a top priority for me to get there before it closed today,” Hinz added. “It was a fantastic experience – quick and painless.”
The mother of two school-aged children, Hinz said the process was not too laborious. When she arrived to vote, there was a steadily moving line and she was able to get in and out within 20 minutes. In fact, she said she felt safe from the moment she walked in as she saw staff fully masked, practicing social distancing and contact tracing.
“I hope that nobody is scared off from voting because of the pandemic,” said Hinz. “It felt safer than going to the grocery store.”
The opening day turnout eclipses the 1.25 million Canadians who voted in 2019. While numbers for day two have not been fully tallied, Elections Canada told Global News that the total is higher than the 970,000 voters who voted on the second day of advance voting in 2019.
But it wasn’t the case at all polling stations in Canada. Some early-bird voters described hour-long waits on Twitter.
Elections Canada acknowledged that, because of strong turnout at advance polls, “there may have been line ups in some places.”
To some, those long line-ups — somewhat a quintessential aspect of the pandemic at this point — were a good sign.
“Our wait is about one hour,” Uttara Chauhan tweeted Monday night, the last day for advance voting. “But happy that folks are getting out to vote!!”
Hinz has spent the last four weeks sifting through the voting process. When it came time to make up her mind and cast her ballot, though, she said the in-person voting process felt a lot more natural than she had expected.
She stated, “It’s wonderful they went the extra mile to make sure it felt safe.”
Hinz, a progressive voter, was taken aback by the election results. With no possibility of a no-confidence vote coming, Hinz said that while she takes her voting obligations seriously, going to the polls with a fourth wave looming was not ideal.
“Calling an election seems a little pointless… In a pandemic, I would have preferred not to vote,” she added.
Source_ The Canadian Press