Concerns raised about long lines and mask enforcement in Alberta polling stations

Issues are being raised round buildings throughout Alberta turning into polling places come Monday morning when voting for the federal election begins.

“I’m fairly nervous about what might occur on Monday,” mentioned Mount Royal College political science professor Duane Bratt.

He mentioned there’s been a consolidation of polling stations, which has led to fewer polling places throughout Canada than within the 2019 election.

He additionally wonders who shall be implementing COVID-19 restrictions at polling places.

“We might have some folks exhibiting up and inflicting a scene at polling stations and intentionally refusing masks and who’s answerable for implementing these masks necessities?” Bratt mentioned.

“Is it the poor deputy returning officer handing out pencils that now has to implement mandates to perhaps a handful of thugs?”

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Learn extra:
Polling stations short on workers as COVID-19 pandemic hinders recruitment

In an announcement, Elections Canada mentioned, “There was elevated engagement with native authorities in jurisdictions the place monitoring has indicated there could also be disturbances at polling stations.”

Nevertheless, the company mentioned, “the returning officer doesn’t have the authority to implement emergency restrictions.”

The Canada Elections Act requires that returning officers and their delegates keep order inside Elections Canada places.

The legislation authorizes a returning officer or different election officer to ask electors who refuse to adjust to established guidelines to depart the workplace or polling place.

Click to play video:'Latest polls show Liberals, Conservatives neck-and-neck on eve of 2021 Canada election'

Newest polls present Liberals, Conservatives neck-and-neck on eve of 2021 Canada election

Newest polls present Liberals, Conservatives neck-and-neck on eve of 2021 Canada election

In Alberta, masks are required in all indoor settings pursuant to provincial, native and landlord coverage.

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Voters who can’t put on a masks for medical causes received’t need to put on one, and they won’t be requested for proof of medical exemption, apart from polling places in Alberta faculties, the place proof of exemption is required by the college boards.

“It’s too unhealthy that some folks would select this second as a result of the federal election is a lot extra than simply you sporting or not sporting a masks,” mentioned Josee Roy, who plans to vote within the using of Calgary Confederation.

Mount Royal College affiliate professor Lori Williams mentioned her largest issues are that folks shall be deterred by lineups or by the pandemic.

“We already know there are fewer polling stations and which means there are more likely to be longer traces that would deter some folks from even going out to vote. In order that they could be nervous about this fourth wave and the hazard that it poses to them,” Williams mentioned.

Learn extra:
Numerous ridings in GTA see significant drop in polling stations for upcoming election

“For me, simply because I’m a trainer, I don’t have a lot free time on my palms, so if I needed to wait hours and hours to vote, that would dissuade me from voting,” mentioned Dan Doherty, a voter in Calgary Confederation.

Elections Canada mentioned there could possibly be longer lineups to accommodate bodily distancing necessities.

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Nationally, there are about 14,300 polling places for Election Day. That compares to fifteen,477 polling places used for the forty third common election in 2019.

In Calgary, Elections Canada estimates about the identical variety of polls shall be open as in 2019.

© 2021 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc. | Issues raised about lengthy traces and masks enforcement in Alberta polling stations


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