TORONTO — Thousands of Canadians will not be able to vote in the upcoming federal election because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections Canada said.
With the deadline for mail-in ballot passed as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 between now and Election Day will not be able to vote, as the mandatory isolation period extends beyond election day.
“If someone has COVID, they should be in quarantine and that would make it impossible for them to show up at a polling place,” a spokesperson for Elections Canada told CTVNews.ca in an email.
According to Elections Canada’s online FAQ, voters should contact their local public health authority if they develop symptoms for next steps, but “after Tuesday, Sept. 14, electors who have or believe they have COVID-19 and who have not already applied to vote by mail will not be able to vote.”
According to CTVNews.ca COVID-19 tracker, Canada is averaging about 4,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, meaning upwards of 20,000 Canadians by Monday will have missed the deadline for mail-in balloting and can no longer vote in person.
This is a departure from the U.S., which allowed anyone with COVID-19 orthose exposed to the virus to vote in person during the presidential elections back in November 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Controland Prevention said at the time that in-person voting is safe and a COVID-19 diagnosis would not stop Americans from voting, according to CNN.
Elections Canada issued more than 1.2 million mail-in ballots to Canadians requesting them and an estimated 5.78 million Canadians have already voted in advanced polling that ended earlier this week.