Canada’s top election official is asking the federal government to tweak elections laws so that Canadians could safely go to the polls in a time of pandemic and so that votes could be safely and securely cast using alternatives methods.
Stephane Perreault, the country’s chief electoral officer, told a House of Commons committee Thursday that he wants Parliament to change the voting day for a general election from one 12-hour period on a Monday to two eight-hour periods of voting on a Saturday and Sunday.
Perreault also seeks legislative authority to provide “tailored” election services for voters who are residents of long-term care facilities and for the flexibility to adjust election procedures as he sees fit to respond to an emergency.
Finally, he wants Parliament to approve his request that mail-in ballots would still be counted if they were received after election day so long as the ballots were post-marked before election day.
He also said that he would expect millions of Canadians to vote by mail in a general election held in a time of pandemic and, while he has no concerns about the safety or security of mail-in ballots, he conceded that the results of such an election may not be known for a few days.
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In response to a query from Conservative MP Todd Doherty, Perreault said that, had the government fallen on a confidence vote this week, he was confident Elections Canada would have “delivered” a safe, secure election, though he conceded it would have been an operational challenge.
… More to come
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